Israeli startup Redefine Meat is launching steak alternatives that it hopes to mass-produce using 3D printers. By 2021, the company hopes people will have access to plant-based 3D-printed steaks.

Plant-based meats are rising in popularity these days with the likes of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods offering people alternatives. What makes Redefine Meat unique is that it will offer butcher-style cuts, as opposed to the usual patty or ground meat styles currently offered in the market. And of course, these steaks are 3D-printed.

Through 3D printing, Redefine Meat is able to create plant-based meat with a similar "appearance, texture, and flavor of animal meat," according to the company's website. And it appears texture is the 3D printer's greatest ability. "You need a 3D printer to mimic the structure of the muscle of the animal," Redefine Meat CEO Eshchar Ben-Shitrit told Reuters.

3D-printing is easily what makes Redefine Meat's plant-based steak unique. Both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods use a mixture of plant-based proteins, binders, and oils, like potato starch and methylcellulose, and other natural ingredients to come with a slice of meat that looks real. Atlast Food, meanwhile, users shredded fibers of mushroom to mimic animal tissue in its meatless bacon.

People have varied reasons why they are going for meat alternatives. It could for health, ethical, or environmental reasons, but one thing is certain -- people crave the taste of meat, and it is not easy to forget what meat tastes like.

Market analyst at Barclays in 2019 estimated that the global market for meat alternatives could reach $140 billion by 2029, according to research firm Statista in an article posted June last year.

Comparing last year's data to the current trend, it has been reported that sales for alternative meat grew ever since the pandemic started, with sales about doubling for top brands since U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on March 13. According to experts, this desire for sustainable and healthy food is largely triggered by meat facility closures and supply chain disruption.

In addition, to Redefine Meat, other companies are also investing in 3D tech to produce meat alternatives. NovaMeat, a Spanish company, is working on 3D-printed pork substitutes and steaks. It is also looking to mass-produce its products in 2021 in "selected top restaurants" in Europe first.

Redefine Meat's 3D-printed steaks would not be possible without the $6-million investment of CPT Capital, an investor in Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. German poultry outfit PHW and Hanaco Venture Captial also invested.