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Israeli food tech startup SavorEat serves up 3D-printed pork, turkey burgers

Israeli food tech startup SavorEat, a maker of 3D-printed, plant-based meat alternatives, has launched new products this week including kosher, vegan, gluten-free, allergen-free pork patties and vegan turkey burgers. These join the company’s vegan beef burgers, which are already sold in an Israeli chain restaurant and will be sold soon in the US.

SavorEat’s products combine additive manufacturing technology (also known as 3D printing technology), plant-based ingredients in cartridges, and a unique, plant-based cellulose fiber that binds the ingredients together, creating a meat-like texture. The cellulose fiber was developed by Prof. Oded Shoseyov and Prof. Ido Braslevsky, researchers at Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Yissum Research Development Company. They joined Racheli Vizman, an entrepreneur, to establish SavorEat in 2018.

Together, they also developed a unique “robot chef” that makes the patties according to specifications. The washing machine-sized device can cook custom-made burgers with varying amounts of protein, fat, cellulose, water, and flavors and colorings, that can be cooked or grilled, making the same “sizzling sounds” and emitting the same odors that meat does.

The machine, which is the height of two large microwaves and the length of one, is part of the dining experience, Vizman has said. “SavorEat is more than just the patties. We are creating something completely unique with a robot chef personalizing the product, making it according to the personal needs of the customer. This is quite a new experience,” she told The Times of Israel previously.

The Rehovot-based company is also big on sustainability goals, with a growing role in the food tech industry’s alternative proteins subsector and a strong message on climate change.

The meat production industry is responsible for about 23 percent of all global warming gases, while ammonia from urine feeds acid rain. Around 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters) of water are needed to produce 1 pound (0.4 kilograms) of beef. Cattle ranching accounts for 70% to 80% of Amazon rainforest destruction.

SavorEat’s pork breakfast sausage patty served at the company’s office kitchen in Rehovot, July 2022. (Courtesy)

Plant-based proteins, by comparison, emit drastically fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, SavorEat said. It cited a 2022 report that said that should the plant-based protein sector grow to represent 11 percent of all protein consumption by 2035, “the world could see a reduction equal to decarbonizing 95 percent of the aviation industry.”

“At SavorEat, we are passionate about offsetting carbon emissions and reducing waste, which is why we created a product that can do both,” Vizman said this week in a company statement.

“By expanding into other plant-based meats, we aim to provide greater variety and customization, to empower the planet to eat differently, with more healthy and sustainable options to reduce ecological impact,” she said.

“Personalized food and medicine is the next big thing and I wanted to create better solutions” than those already available, she has said. Her vision is for the robot chef/3D printing machine to “become the next microwave, a microwave that actually makes the food, in people’s home, easily, more cost-efficiently and everyone can eat how they want.”

SavorEat co-founders from left to right: Prof. Ido Braslevsky, Racheli Vizman, and Prof. Oded Shosayev. (Sharon Byron)

SavorEat’s patties are made of pea and other plant-based proteins with sunflower and coconut fats.

“And it’s kosher! It’s all plant-based, there are no animal products, allergens like soy, or gluten, and there is no human touch that could cause cross-contamination like when chefs handle or cook food in the same grill,” Vizman has said, noting that the company works with rabbinical authorities in Israel and has kosher certification.

SavorEat has filed patent applications for the 3D food production method in the United States, Europe, and Australia.

SavorEat’s 3D-printing robot for plant-based meat alternatives. (Courtesy)

The company went public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in November 2020, raising NIS 42.6 million (some $13 million) from Israeli institutional investors in the share sale.

SavorEat is one of several Israeli companies developing plant-based protein products, including Plantish, a maker of 3D-printed vegan “salmon” fillets that recently raised $12 million in funding, and Redefine Meat, a developer of 3D-printed, animal-free lamb and beef cuts, burgers, sausages, lamb kebabs, and ground beef that are sold in some 200 restaurants and establishments in Israel and Europe (including Michelin-starred eateries). This month, Redefine Meat signed a deal with Israeli-founded hospitality company Selina to serve its plant-based meat substitutes at over 150 Selina locations starting in Tel Aviv and London.

Redefine Meat raised $135 million earlier this year to expand production lines in Israel and the Netherlands.

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