Ikea meatballs and Wagyu now 3D printed

NEW-AGE: Ikea's experimental 3D-pinted Swedish meatballs.

NEW-AGE: Ikea's experimental 3D-pinted Swedish meatballs.

THREE dimensional printed beef is being taste tested for commercial viability by all sorts of global organisations, from the Swedish furniture giant Ikea to a Japanese university which has replicated Wagyu.

The new-age synthetic beef, made using stem cells from cattle multiplied in a laboratory via a technology known as 3D print, was pioneered in Israel around four years ago.

The latest technical breakthrough has come from scientists at Osaka University, who have taken stem cells isolated from Wagyu cows to 3D-print a meat alternative containing muscle, fat, and blood vessels arranged to closely resemble the high-value beef.

Wagyu is famous around the globe for its high content of intramuscular fat, known as marbling or sashi.

The Osaka scientists fabricated individual fibres from stem cells using bioprinting and then arranged those in 3D to reproduce the structure of real Wagyu. They say that process makes the reconstruction of the complex meat tissue structure possible in a customised way.

"By improving this technology, it will be possible to not only reproduce complex meat structures, such as the beautiful sashi of Wagyu beef, but to also make subtle adjustments to the fat and muscle components," senior researcher Michiya Matsusaki said.

"That is, customers would be able to order cultured meat with their desired amount of fat, based on taste and health considerations."

The scientists' paper on their work talks about 'ushering in a more sustainable future' of beef production.

That too, is clearly the thinking behind Ikea's move to investigate 3D-printed versions of its famous Swedish meatballs.

The company is combining recruitment with experimenting in the technology.

It has just issued an invitation to 'people with imagination' for a job interview conducted over a meal of 3D-printed meatballs as part of a new data and technology recruitment campaign.

It's video launch of the recruitment campaign features a 3D-printer which has been programmed to recreate the texture, flavour and appearance of the IKEA meatball - without the meat.

Ikea says that, as of now, there are no plans to put the 3D printed meatballs on the menu but serving them to job candidates is part of 'experimenting'.

Ikea has committed to 80 per cent of the main meals served in its restaurants not being red meat by 2025 and is already selling plant balls as alternatives to the traditional meatballs.

It is also now selling plant-based foods to take home and cook yourself, in the same vein as its build-your-own furniture.

This month, Ikea US announced a product called Vrldsklok, made from pea protein, which it described as 'a shapeable meat substitute' that can be used to make burgers and meatballs - in your Ikea kitchen of course.

This story Everyone is taste testing 3D printed beef first appeared on Farm Online.