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Steakholder Foods launches industry-first 3D printed eel

Unagi is a delicacy in Japanese cuisine but it's also a popular food in many Southern European countries

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Steakholder Foods, a pioneer in the 3D meat and fish printing technology and cultivated cell innovation, just launched the world’s first plant-based, 3D printed eel. This breakthrough highlights Steakholder Foods’ remarkable capability to accurately replicate the complex texture of eel, achieved through precision layering and a unique combination of materials in Steakholder Foods’ proprietary 3D printing technology. The Company’s eel is currently based on plant materials and is expected to include cultivated eel cells in the future, as economies of scale allow price-competitive cell development.

Steakholder Foods launches industry-first 3D printed eel, a delicacy in Japanese cuisine but also a popular food in many European countries The company’s unique Dropjet printing process enables it to significantly reduce the amount of ingredients used in its 3D printed product relative to typical plant-based alternatives, potentially positioning Steakholder Foods’ plant-based, 3D-printed eel at the forefront of the industry.

Steakholder Foods was awarded a $1 million grant earlier this year to develop the 3D printed eel product. The company is now exploring collaborations to commercialize its plant-based, 3D printed eel by offering them proprietary 3D printers and ink, capable of generating revenues in the short term. Based on Steakholder Foods’ current technology capabilities, it estimates that its partners and customers will be able to mass-produce 3D-printed eel at a competitive price range, enabling them to tackle the cost challenges linked to the current global prices of eel.

Unagi is a delicacy in Japanese cuisine but it’s also a popular food in many Southern European countries. The global eel market, valued at USD 4.3 billion in 2022 and growing at a CAGR of 2.19%, primarily relies on wild eel. This industry faces several critical challenges, including overexploitation and the risk of extinction, particularly in Japan which accounts for a major portion of global eel consumption. Breeding difficulties in farms due to the complex life cycle of eels, regulatory challenges, and issues like poaching and black-market trading further exacerbate the situation, highlighting the need for sustainable alternatives.

Steakholder Foods launches industry-first 3D printed eel, a delicacy in Japanese cuisine but also a popular food in many European countries

Arik Kaufman, CEO of Steakholder Foods said: “The launch of our 3D printed eel marks a pivotal moment in the seafood industry, showcasing the vast potential of our DropJet technology – Steakholder Foods’ solution for fish and seafood printing. This technology is designed to enable partners to generate products on a potential industrial scale of hundreds of tons monthly, not only at lower costs compared to wild eel, but also with the flexibility to create various printed products using the same production line. Such versatility could significantly boost profitability for food companies and lead the way to a shift towards more efficient and sustainable practices in the industry. This product exemplifies the broader possibilities our technology offers our partners.”

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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