One Fish, Two Fish, No Fish, New Fish: 3D Printed Vegan Fish To Hit Supermarkets

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Vienna-based food-tech startup Revo Foods announced the launch of a 3D printed vegan salmon filet simply dubbed THE FILET. Inspired by salmon, this product marks a pivotal moment in the food industry as it becomes the world’s first 3D printed food item available in supermarkets, potentially setting a new standard for the future of food production and consumption.

Soon to be available at the REWE supermarket chains across Austria, THE FILET is produced using Revo Foods’ patented MassFormer technology. By integrating a new extrusion system, it seamlessly blends fats into a fibrous protein matrix. This technology replicates the flakiness and juicy texture of fish filets, marking a significant improvement over previous generations of meat alternatives.

Revo Foods’ THE FILET 3D printed vegan fish-like product will soon be available in Austrian REWE supermarkets. Image courtesy of REWE.

The primary ingredient, mycoprotein, comes from filamentous fungi, known for its excellent nutritional values and natural, meat-like texture. Notably, the product has achieved a Nutriscore rating of “A,” indicating its high protein and Omega-3 content.

The environmental benefits of mycoprotein are impressive. Compared to conventional fish production, mycoprotein requires minimal processing and significantly fewer resources, such as water and emissions. The ingredient is a collaborative development between Revo Foods and Swedish startup Mycorena and is backed by €1.5 million of European funding.

A Milestone in Food Innovation

Revo Foods’ achievement in bringing the first 3D printed vegan seafood to supermarket shelves is not just a milestone for the company but also the food industry at large.

“With the milestone of industrial-scale 3D food printing, we are entering a creative food revolution, an era where food is being crafted exactly according to the customer needs. We are not just creating a vegan alternative; we are shaping the future of food itself,” remarked Robin Simsa, CEO of Revo Food.

The initial launch partner of THE FILET is German supermarket REWE, which also caters to Austria. In fact, in Austria, REWE has become the largest supermarket retail chain with an annual turnover of roughly €9.57 billion. With a network of 2,521 stores nationwide, the company operates under several banners, including ADEG, Billa, BIPA, Merkur, Penny, and Sutterlüty.

Revo Foods has also made its product available to select gastronomy partners in Vienna and Copenhagen. In addition, on October 1, 2023, THE FILET began selling to all of Europe via Revo Foods’ online shop. At €6.99 ($7.59) for 130g of the vegan salmon-like filet, buyers will taste this product, which leverages mycoprotein, algae oil, and vitamins.

Reviews are already coming in from users, and they are all top-notch. According to customer Tobias Schuster, THE FILET “is amazing, and the taste is 1:1 to the real thing.” Similarly, Martin Wagner pointed out, “I have been a vegetarian for several years, and now I can finally eat salmon again.”

3D printed vegan salmon filet. Image courtesy of Revo Foods.

Food frontier

While various 3D printed food items have become available as of 2023, Revo Foods 3D printed vegan salmon filet will soon become the only 3D printed food product available in supermarkets worldwide. Most other 3D printed food innovations appear to be in the stages of development, prototyping, or available through specific restaurants or niche markets rather than widespread retail distribution.

For example, Open Meals’ Sushi Singularity restaurant in Tokyo offers personalized 3D printed sushi based on customers’ biological samples. Netherlands-based Upprinting Food recycles food waste like bread and vegetables into an edible filament for 3D printing, creating intricate, long-lasting biscuits. California’s The Sugar Lab sells its premium, 3D printed sugar confections through its online platform, offering customers the chance to transform sugar into complex, geometric shapes for various treats like cupcakes and edible wedding cake decorations. Another case is pasta giant Barilla, which created spin-off BluRhapsody to make custom-printed pasta, catering to unique shapes and designs for chefs. On the research side, Columbia University has successfully 3D printed an edible cheesecake using materials like peanut butter, Nutella, and jelly.

Rise of 3D printed food

Introducing this 3D printed vegan salmon filet in REWE supermarkets across Austria represents more than a novel product launch. It symbolizes a major shift in the production and consumption of food, addressing urgent environmental concerns.

In a significant advance for sustainable food technology, Revo Foods’ new introduction has the potential to diminish the depletion of ocean resources, combat overfishing, and reduce the environmental impact of food production.

With up to 60% of global fish stocks being overfished and the risk of collapsing ocean ecosystems, there is an urgent need for sustainable seafood alternatives. The conventional fishing industry, a major contributor to plastic pollution in the oceans, is a threat to marine biodiversity. In this context, developing vegan seafood alternatives like THE FILET presents a promising solution to these challenges.

3D printed vegan salmon filet. Image courtesy of Revo Foods.

Revo Foods’ new product comes at a crucial time, as more people want seafood even though our oceans are in trouble. Coral reefs are dying, and fish are full of harmful toxins and tiny plastics. The company’s smart solution meets this high demand for seafood but in a non-harmful way. It’s also an ideal product for people who mainly eat plant-based foods but still enjoy the taste of fish. They can once again taste seafood without harming the environment and also obtain a high nutritional value.

Moreover, the production of this vegan salmon filet addresses environmental concerns beyond the oceans. Traditional aquaculture and fish farming often involve significant water use feed inputs and can lead to pollution and habitat destruction. Meanwhile, 3D printed vegan seafood production has a significantly lower environmental footprint, requiring fewer resources and resulting in less pollution.

Collective effort

In another significant development, Revo Foods has become a founding member of the Future Ocean Foods Alliance. This global association, comprising 36 members in 14 countries, aims to promote and accelerate the development of seafood alternatives. The alliance’s activities include fostering knowledge-sharing and collaboration, increasing education and awareness about alternative seafood, and working with traditional seafood companies to diversify offerings.

With 36 members in 14 countries across plant-based, fermentation, and cultivated food and technology, some of the world’s leading seafood alternative companies joined the association. They will work together to communicate the urgency of finding better alternatives to seafood and accelerate the launch of better product offerings.

The launch of Revo Foods’ 3D printed vegan salmon filet and its participation in a global alliance to support and accelerate the alternative seafood industry worldwide is a big step towards sustainable food production. By harnessing innovative technology and addressing pressing environmental concerns, Revo Foods and the Future Ocean Foods Alliance are at the forefront of a movement that could redefine our relationship with food and the environment. As more startups and big food companies start embracing disruptive technologies, they could reshape the future of food sometime in this century.

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