Nov 28, 2016 | By Benedict

New research from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) suggests that the 3D printing of red meat products could add significant value to the Australian red meat industry, especially when targeted at the aged care sector. MLA believes that secondary cuts could be turned into a 3D printable “meat ink.”

In the food industry, it is well known that some cuts of meat are more valuable than others. Farmers, butchers, and retailers can demand a much higher price for a sirloin steak than, for example, a rump, while other cuts are rarely used in anything but low-quality food products. According to new research from MLA, 3D printing could offer an interesting value-adding solution for those in the meat industry seeking to offload their so-called “secondary” cuts, as well as trim and by-products, in a cost-effective manner.

Vegetarians look away now, because MLA’s innovate suggestion is somewhat hard to stomach—or not, as the case may be. The organization believes that secondary cuts of meat, rather than being made into pet food or some low-grade pie filling, could be turned into a 3D printable “meat ink,” which could then be made into a variety of customizable meat products using a special food-safe 3D printer. The meat and livestock group found that market acceptance of such a product would be high, and that the potential value added could be significant.

The idea of a 3D printable meat-based substance might sound like a dystopian nightmare to some, but Sean Starling, MLA General Manager for Research Development and Innovation, sees 3D printed food as a transformational technology platform that could radically change the red meat industry for the better. “There is a need for the creation of new business models and solutions to meet mega trends and demands from different markets who want personalized approaches to nutrients or textures rather than the current whole muscle meat products,” Starling told Beef Central.

According to MLA, 3D printed red meat products could prove especially desirable for the aged care sector, where there is a high demand for nutritional foods that are easy to chew and digest. Typically, those with chewing difficulties eat pureed foods, but 3D printed foods could offer a tastier, protein-rich alternative, and can also be made into virtually any shape and size. Best of all, the 3D printing technology used to create such foods is already established: MLA points to cases in Germany, where more than 1,000 nursing homes already serve 3D printed meat products to residents who have trouble chewing.

If the red meat industry decided to adopt additive food technology, beneficiaries would include others besides the elderly. The MLA report suggests that 3D printed red meat products could also be customized to cater for the nutritional needs of specific consumers, such as those with particular vitamin deficiencies. The report states that 3D printing “links in well with the disease prevention aspect of the current consumer health trend because nutrition can be personalized, for example products high in iron targeted to female consumers or high in protein targeted to kids or athletes.”

Other advantages to 3D printing red meat include less waste per carcass, additional volume of meat sold, additional value per carcass, and reduced processing costs. Luckily, MLA believes that these advantages could be taken advantage of sooner rather than later, thanks to the ease with which 3D printing equipment can be set up and used. “3DP is modular and cheap and thus easy experimentation is exactly what makes it such an appealing technology,” the report states.

While the Australian red meat market is performing well both domestically and abroad, the integration of 3D printing technologies could see the industry reaching a larger customer base than ever before. Failure to do so, however, could see the industry fall behind international competitors. “If the Australian red meat market is to remain globally competitive, we have to embrace innovation and new technology to ensure we grow our markets and provide greater value for the industry,” Starling warned.

Meat & Livestock Australia thinks consumers would eat a 3D printed meat product, but would you?



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Phil3D wrote at 12/1/2016 2:32:22 AM:

Have no fear I.AM.Magic, this is a concept in the beta stage that still requires additional processes for it to be widely acclaimed. This science has yet to mature and as it does, misconceptions will be debunked and other progressive issues will come in for additional criticism. However, while some people will still howl at the moon, others will be taking a flight there.

I.AM.Magic wrote at 11/29/2016 1:14:10 PM:

This is the most BS topic in regards of 3D printing... quote " Typically, those with chewing difficulties eat pureed foods, but 3D printed foods could offer a tastier, protein-rich alternative, and can also be made into virtually any shape and size." Wat? how does additive manufacturing make purée (mashed) food any better? This is a fallacious concept. Either way you add the meat or nutrient in the food. Additive manufacturing ONLY adds a shape, that's it. Furthermore, if you want easy to eat food, drink soylent. I've tried it. Many flavors are on the market. Ok, you'll tell me this article is about meat. "secondary" cuts, bad quality meat. Yay, feed junk food to the elderly, who cares. Might as well just eat a sausage, same thing. Is a sausage too hard for them? 3D printed food will be just as hard. Make them a soup, all vegetables, little energy consumption, great for the planet, not enough fibers? not enough proteins? not enough vitamins? Well, learn how to cook. There is everything you need in vegies. There is more in life than carrot, tomato, and potato. PS: I'm not a vegetarian, I love meat. But this kind of articles sadness me.

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