3D-printing technology has found a niche in food innovation, with 3D-printed vegan salmon as the latest creation. Pivoting from developing medical technologies with 3D-printing, a group of international students from Sweden, Spain and Denmark, the team began working together on using the technology to develop plant-based seafood.
The project, called Legendary Vish, began in 2017 by PhD students Robin Simsa, Theresa Rothenbücher, and Hakan Gürbüz with the mission of creating a sustainable alternative to the environmentally destructive global fishing industry.
Using a blend of mushrooms, pea proteins and gelling agents such as agar agar and omega 3-rich oils, the students created realistic red meat and white connective tissue through their proprietary printing process. Working with flavor experts, the team is also looking to recreate the unique taste of salmon, which can be replacements for sashimi and smoked lox.
“We saw that in the plant-based seafood market, there are currently mainly unstructured products, such as fish sticks or burgers. However, products with a more complex structure such as salmon fillets can not be found on the market right now,” Simsa, the CEO of the project told Food Navigator. “We saw a unique opportunity in utilizing 3D food printing to create seafood products with a complex structure, which cannot be achieved with classical extrusion technologies.”
As one of ten startups running for a finalist position in the Greenstart incubator, which is part of the Vienna Impact Hub, the Legendary Vish project is up for €210,000 ($237,520) in funding. With a plan to base their company in Austria and scale up distribution of their products in 2022 locally and in Germany and Switzerland, the students aim to expand to Scandinavia and other parts of Europe. They also plan to develop 3D-printed vegan tuna and herring, in addition to salmon.
Legendary Vish is one of many companies around the world working to create vegan meats and provide cruelty-free alternatives for every type of animal product. Last week, Israel-based company Redefine Meat announced that it will debuting its 3D-printed Alt-Steak at high-end restaurants later this year. Their vegan steak is made by combining proprietary plant-based blood, muscle, and fat formulations and the company plans to expand to market distribution in 2021.