Raising the Steaks in 3D-Printed Food

12.12.18

By Diane Hess

The phrase “hot off the press” takes on new meaning at Israeli startup Jet Eat, which is developing the first of its kind program for 3D printing of meat substitutes.

Jet Eat joins other tech companies in the engineered food space, but it leads the pack in the pursuit to print vegan beef. Using plant-based ingredients, it has already succeeded in recreating the texture and taste of meat. The firm’s approach is multi-faceted: Jet Eat developed software that defines the properties of printed meat in a digital file, as well as a special 3D printer that can generate complex structures of food.

Last month, the Ness Ziona-based company won the 2018 Food Accelerator Network Program competition, hosted by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology. It recognized Jet Eat for its initiatives in food innovation and production, and its ability to impact society.

“Our challenge is to reduce beef consumption—an issue for public health, the environment, and food supply,” said Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, CEO of Jet Eat and a Hebrew University of Jerusalem graduate.

Ben-Shitrit expects to market Jet Eat’s printed vegan steak in 2020. Not only is he committed to delivering a great product, he is also working on a way to scale production so large quantities can be made at reasonable costs. Initially, Jet Eat plans to sell to specific butchers around the world and Ben-Shitrit hopes to be in Whole Foods and other premium retail outlets soon after.

Separately, in October 2017, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Yissum Research Development Company introduced technology for the 3D printing of personalized food based on nanocellulose—a natural, edible fiber.

Ben-Shitrit credits his kibbutz upbringing and his business and law education at HU as inspiration for his entrepreneurial work: “Studying law gives you the ability to dissect complex problems and solve them,” he said. “Through Jet Eat, I can use technology to help [fix] the supply chain and change the world.”