Researchers Improve the Quality of 3D Printed Meat with the Use of Cocoa Butter

For a host of reasons bordering from religious beliefs to animals right movement, to the maintenance of the environment, to health concerns, more and more consumers are turning to meat substitutes. This impulse means the market must diversify to accommodate these changes.Red Meat

Read Also: Eat Just Served Lab-Made Chicken Meat in a Historic First in Singapore

Recently, a team has taken the diversification to another level as they commenced developing alternative meat with 3D printers using a special mix of fruits and veggies. However, recipes from cocoa beans, cocoa butter have been reported as the most successful mix so far.

Printing food? The new normal?

Thickening of the blood vessels, decreasing lifespan, infection by parasites, increasing the risk of diabetes mellitus, and other diseases linked to eating meat are enough reasons to scare anyone off meat. However, to turn vegan abruptly means that you run the risk of developing illnesses that red meat was protective against like anemia. That’s quite a dilemma! To solve this, there was the need to create a food that had the components of real meat.

Most meat substitutes are based on plant proteins mainly wheat and soy which look a lot like real meat. However, when 3D printing of meat commenced using alternatives, the producers never used the soy and wheat formulations. This inadequacy prompted the likes of Shanshan Wang and Songbai Liu to develop a strategy to produce a formulation that could be used to print soy- or wheat-based meat dough.

After constituting this formulation, the scientists ensured it had different important components with the use of the printer. They appraised the accuracy of the dough’s printing, its texture, feel, form, and structure. However, the test revealed that the texture came up short of expectation, but could benefit from some sodium alginate and tween-80[polysorbate-80] emulsifiers.

Read Also: Eat Just Served Lab-Made Chicken Meat in a Historic First in Singapore

In the course of the research, the physical properties of cocoa butter turned out to be one of the required features needed to make printing meat dough a success. The cocoa butter is heat-sensitive, it turns to the fluid when heated and hardens when it cools. This flexibility enabled the heated dough to be fluid for printing and to set after printing at room temperature.

Printing meat dough using soybeans (which is another of the components), is not without its pitfalls, chiefly, being a bad meal for individuals with allergies. The researcher tried to address this concern by replacing soybeans with peas, however, the formulation turned out to be too fluid, and posed a lot of difficulties to print.

Clinical significance

Meat consumption is slowly becoming outdated, alt meat is now the in-thing. Shifts in food consumption are quite significant in maintaining the health of a population. The study has revealed that is possible to switch to a vegan diet, stylishly, without running the risk of developing illnesses that meat averted.

Though there is still work to be done in protecting groups with different allergies, the progress so far has been remarkable.

Read Also: Lean Red Meat Does Not Increase the Risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease


A study from Allied Market Research says that the meat substitute market will hit values of about $8.1 billion by 2026. 3D printing using cocoa butter will most likely be spearheading the reformation.


3D Printing of Soy Protein- and Gluten-Based Gels Facilitated by Thermosensitive Cocoa Butter in a Model Study



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