Vienna-based vegan food technology company Revo Foods recently unveiled its first “ultra realistic” whole-cut plant-based salmon, which is expected to launch in stores in early 2023. The new product is made using 3D food printing technology and aims to replicate the eating experience of whole-cut fish filets without the need to harm a single fish.
While the majority of conventional fish is consumed in whole-cut filets, few alternative seafood products have been able to mimic the experience. Revo Foods’ scientific team worked for more than two years researching new process technology and ingredient compositions to develop its first whole-cut vegan salmon filet, dubbed “generation 2.0.” Unlike the products of the first generation, which were mostly made with tofu, the new whole-cut salmon uses pea protein and algae extracts, making it rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It was developed using 3D food printing technology to create a taste and texture that mimics conventional salmon and can be prepared (fried, cooked, and steamed) just like conventional fish. The startup has already filed two patents for new technologies to produce such whole-cut vegan fish products.
Last year, Revo Foods unveiled its first 3D-printed vegan smoked salmon product during a tasting event that took place at Budapest Bagels in Vienna. Called “Salmon With Attitude,” the product looked just like real smoked salmon and was also developed using 3D food printing to recreate the texture and appearance of seafood. Similarly, ingredients such as pea protein, algae extracts, and dietary fibers are combined to create a base that is high in protein, omega 3, and B12. Revo showcased its revolutionary vegan fish in a creamy smoked salmon spread. These first products are already available in 16 European countries, including supermarkets in Austria and Germany.
At its first tasting event in Vienna last month to unveil the new salmon filet, select attendees enjoyed a three-course meal prepared by Austrian Michelin-starred chef Siegfried Kropf. The menu included appetizers with Revo’s smoked salmon slices and its new fish spreads. But the main focus was on the “game-changer” salmon filet, which was fried and paired with asparagus, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, and hollandaise sauce. “The structure is almost ‘too perfect.’ Are you sure this is vegan?” one attendee said.
What is 3D food printing?
To create its revolutionary plant-based seafood alternatives, Revo Foods uses 3D food printing technology. Also called additive manufacturing, 3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D-printed object is achieved using additive processes, meaning that the object is created by laying down layers of material on top of each other.
Although 3D printing mostly focused on the production of products made of plastic, it was recently implemented in food manufacturing. Additive manufacturing of food is being performed by depositing food, layer by layer, into three-dimensional objects. The most common way of doing this is by using food-grade syringes to hold the printing material, which is then deposited through a food-grade nozzle layer by layer. While similar to other food production methods that shape foods, the novelty with 3D food printing is that it can be performed in a much more controlled way, leading to products that could not be produced otherwise.
This method of using 3D printing technology offers endless possibilities in terms of texture and flavor, and this can be especially useful when developing meat and fish substitutes—as demonstrated by Revo Foods with its high-quality smoked salmon slices and structured salmon filets.
Ultimately, Revo Foods’ mission is to put a stop to overfishing, destruction of the oceans, and toxic waste materials such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in seafood. “At Revo Foods we have a clear vision: Overfishing is the past,” the company recently posted to Facebook. “Join us for a sustainable future with plant-based seafood!”
Whole-cut vegan seafood is here
Revo Foods is one of the first food technology companies to create a whole-cut vegan salmon filet. Earlier this year, Israel-based startup Plantish unveiled its own prototype, called Plantish Salmon, which was created using patent-pending 3D-printing technology to mimic its fish counterpart in every way, including a flakey texture, buttery mouthfeel, and fibrous structure. To match the nutritional content of fish, the vegan salmon filets are high in protein, Omega-3s, Omega-6s, and B vitamins.
Plantish recently raised $2 million in seed funding to scale production of its whole-cut salmon to make it an affordable and viable swap for fish at restaurants. The one-year-old startup plans to showcase its realistic salmon at select pop-ups by the end of the year and aims for a wider launch by 2024.
“We exist to save the oceans and eliminate the need to consume marine animals by providing more sustainable, more nutritious, and more delicious fish options,” Plantish Co-founder and CEO Ofek Ron said in a statement. “Our vision is to be the world’s leading seafood brand, all without hurting a single fish.”
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