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MailOnline tries the world’s first plant-based filet mignon steaks

MailOnline has tried the world’s first vegetable filet mignon steak – and it comes shockingly close to the real thing.

Made by a Slovenian company called Juicy Marbles, the fake filet mignon contains fat made from sunflower oil and soy protein that mimics real meat.

Rather than using 3D printing or scaffolding, Juicy Marbles uses a patent-pending machine to align layers of protein fibers from bottom to top.

This results in a texture that mimics the fibers in beef tissue, resulting in juicy chunks that ‘gently tear away’.

However, the product comes at a nice price worthy of a real filet mignon; unless you buy in bulk, each 113g Juicy Marbles steak costs almost £10 each.

Juicy Marbles says on its website: 'The experience is exquisite.  The texture is firm, yet velvety soft'

Juicy Marbles says on its website: ‘The experience is exquisite. The texture is firm, yet velvety soft’

Juicy Marbles uses a machine called the 'Meat-o-Matic 9000', which puts proteins into linear fibers and mimics muscle structures

Juicy Marbles uses a machine called the ‘Meat-o-Matic 9000’, which puts proteins into linear fibers and mimics muscle structures

JUICY MARBLE FILLET MIGNON STEAK

ingredients

  • Water
  • soy protein
  • Wheat Protein
  • sunflower oil
  • beetroot powder
  • Salty
  • Yeast extract
  • Iron
  • Vitamin b12
  • Thickeners and emulsifiers

Nutrition (per 113g steak)

  • Energy: 193 kcal
  • Fat: 7.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Protein: 26g

Juicy Marbles says on its website: ‘The experience is exquisite. The texture is firm, yet velvety soft. As juicy chunks gently tear away, one can begin to question reality. You can describe it as juicy, luscious or even outrageous.’

Filet mignon is a cut of meat taken from the smaller end of a cow’s tenderloin — the long, narrow, lean muscle found in the loin.

Filet mignon is a prized cut because that particular piece of muscle carries no weight, so it’s naturally soft and tender.

To recreate the luxurious consistency of the filet mignon, Juicy Marbles does not use 3D printing, nor is it lab grown, unlike other current methods.

Instead, it uses a mysterious machine called the “Meat-o-Matic 9000,” which puts proteins into linear fibers and mimics muscle structures.

The primary ingredients of the fiber are water, soy protein, wheat protein, salt and beet powder, which closely mimics the deep pink color of cow meat, without draining the blood.

Juicy Marbles has also used sunflower oil to mimic the marbling of a filet mignon steak — the tissue of creamy white fat that makes beef so juicy.

The Juicy Marbles product also has a similar calorie count to real filet mignon – 100 g is about 170 kcal each.

The first thing I noticed after taking the vegetable filet mignon steak out of the package was the texture: it’s limp and a bit wet, just like beef.

Again, as with the real thing, it’s best to sprinkle the Juicy Marbles filet mignon with salt before cooking.

Filet mignon is a cut of meat taken from the smaller end of a cow's tenderloin — the long, narrow, lean muscle found in the loin

Filet mignon is a cut of meat taken from the smaller end of a cow’s tenderloin — the long, narrow, lean muscle found in the loin

A four-pack of the vegetable filet mignon steaks comes shrink-wrapped and can easily be mistaken for beef based on looks alone

A four-pack of the vegetable filet mignon steaks comes shrink-wrapped and can easily be mistaken for beef based on looks alone

EATING MEAT AND DAIRY OUTLINES THE PLANET, SCIENTISTS SAY

Eating meat and dairy at current consumption rates is accelerating global warming, scientists say.

Cows, pigs and other farm animals release massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Methane is about 25 times more effective than carbon dioxide at retaining heat.

Livestock also means converting forests to farmland, which means cutting down CO2-absorbing trees, further fueling global warming. More trees are being cut to use land for growing crops, as about a third of all the grain produced in the world is used to feed animals raised for human consumption.

In addition, the nitrogen fertilizer used on crops contributes to nitrous oxide emissions. Nitrous oxide is about 300 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

I fried four steaks in hot oil that smoked lightly, so that the outside quickly got a nice brown crust.

Cooking the vegetable steaks only took a few minutes on each side. I served them with a very basic garnish – chips, peas and a tomato sauce – which probably didn’t do the product justice.

My chips were even a little undercooked as I was so desperate to finish my meal and try the steaks.

The best thing about the Juicy Marbles steak was the texture – the way the individual fibers fell apart easily was extremely similar to beef fibers.

The lines of sunflower oil fat are also arranged to keep the inside moist and give the steak a rich and juicy mouthfeel.

As for the taste, there is a very subtle hint of soy in the meat, as you would expect, but the crispy seared crust on the outside is very deep and meaty.

At the dinner table, I really don’t think many people would be able to tell that this “steak” is animal-free – especially if you top it with a hearty red wine gravy or a peppercorn sauce.

Unfortunately, the vegetable filet mignon doesn’t come cheap – a pack of four 113g steaks including postage costs €45, or £38.50.

Buyers do have the option to save money if they buy in bulk – four four-packs (so 16 steaks in total) cost €96 (£82) including postage.

That works out to just over £5 per steak, which is about the price you’d pay for a half-decent steak at the supermarket.

I served the Juicy Marbles steaks with a simple accompaniment - chips, peas and a tomato sauce

I served the Juicy Marbles steaks with a simple accompaniment – chips, peas and a tomato sauce

The best thing about the Juicy Marbles steak was easily the texture - the fake meat just falls apart

The best thing about the Juicy Marbles steak was easily the texture – the fake meat just falls apart

Is it worth it? I’d say just about. If you’re hosting a dinner party, vegan or vegetarian friends will be thrilled to try this product, especially if they used to eat meat and still have an occasional appetite.

You can also feed them to all your meat-eating friends, listen to them get excited about the best piece of meat they’ve ever tasted, then shock them by telling them it’s vegan.

I’m not vegan or even vegetarian, but I do believe in a future where animal meats have been replaced by ethical, eco-friendly plant-based and lab-grown options.

Juicy Marbles is clearly pushing the boundaries with its product, which could be the key to getting meat addicts to cut their intake.

While eating meat at the current rate of consumption has been linked to global warming, the UK government has no intention of telling people to cut back.

Earlier this month, Environment Minister George Eustice said the government will not force the public to stop eating meat for environmental reasons, as humans are “ultimately omnivores.”

PEA PROTEIN VEGETABLE STEAKS HAVE THE SAME DISTINCTIVE FAT MARKING AS THE REAL DEAL

Scientists have developed vegetable steaks based on pea protein that closely mimic the marbling of real steaks, they claim.

Developed in Switzerland, the fake steak uses pea protein for the red ‘meat’ and an oil-in-water emulsion for the spindly lines of white fat.

Since the fat content of the emulsion can be significantly reduced, the vegetable steak is healthier than the animal original, as well as more ethical.

For his vegetable steak, Martin Hofmann, a materials scientist at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, combines pea protein with carrot, pea and wheat fibres, as well as oil, water, flavors and spices.

Both the pea protein mixture and the fake animal fat (oil, water and additives such as vitamins) are then pressed into their own specially designed tubes.

Unlike conventional 3D printing techniques, the tubes continuously force the protein dough and fat out as dough and into an attachment consisting of two flat pieces of glass.

Hofmann’s specially developed software controls the merging process.

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