Traditional livestock farming is unsustainable. It contributes negatively to the environment with methane emissions, deforestation, water pollution and land degradation, but the demand for meat continues to rise, just as the land to grow it on shrinks.
It’s clear we need a solution and many scientists believe that one of our best hopes for creating sustainable food lies in 3D bioprinting.
What is 3D bioprinting?
3D food bioprinting takes traditional 3D printing methods and utilises them to combine cells and biomaterials.
Initially explored as a way to print organs and tissues for research and more recently, regenerate joints and ligaments, this technology has now found its way into the world of alternative food printing sources.
One of the main factors holding back lab-grown meat was the expense of manufacturing it.
Another issue that has plagued meat alternatives was recreating the juicy texture of meat. Although decent ground meat alternatives have been around for a while until recently there was no replacement for a good old fashioned steak.
Overcoming the odds
Now it seems that scientists have overcome this hurdle thanks to 3D food bioprinting technology.
Using the same techniques for growing human organs and flesh, scientists have replicated the nanofibers of animal muscles to create a texture pretty much indistinguishable from regularly grown meat.
Not only is this meat alternative cruelty-free and made with only plant-based material, but it’s also cholesterol-free and costs less per unit to make than using traditional farming methods.
With the 3D printing manufacturing process getting cheaper and more widely available, the cost to produce meat alternatives is only going down.
The recent news that a certain well known fried chicken manufacturer would be 3D printing its world-famous fowls in Russia has vegetarians salivating and the rest of the world watching intently.
A successful rollout of these 3D-printed chicken nuggets could be just the catalyst the world needs for an all-out food revolution.
The future of food
The future of food looks bright with 3D bioprinting and with some big names in the food industry already on board, it seems it won’t be long until we see 3D printed steaks on the dinner table at home.