Food is a basic human need. It is supposed to provide energy and nutrients necessary for the body to function properly. It should also promote health and have the right taste.
Nowadays, we can choose from a wide range of food products and everyone can compose their menu according to their own tastes and needs. However, the growing nutritional needs of the world’s population, as well as changes in the ecosystem, are causing new sources of food to be sought on the one hand, and new dietary trends and fads to emerge on the other.
One of the new dietary proposals is the so-called “diet”. planetary (flexitarian) diet. The planetary diet was proposed by 37. scientists who are part of The EAT – Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health. What’s new about this approach is that the diet is meant to be healthy not only for people, but also planet-friendly (hence the name). The study includes the most important guidelines for composing a wholesome diet so as to simultaneously minimize the adverse impact of food production on the environment. The basis of the planetary diet is plant-based food (photo: Pixabay). Among other things, we should. eat more than half as much meat (especially red meat), reduce saturated fat intake, and reduce the amount of sugar in the diet. It is recommended to supplement the daily diet with plant-based products, such as plant-based drinks, including plant-based fats, as well as seeds. According to the recommendations, legumes and nuts are to be the source of protein. Of course, the diet must also include vegetables and fruits. As the report’s authors note, in some regions, such as the The U.S. and in Europe, the changes should be more radical. In Europe, for example, the recommendations are that the consumption of red meat should be reduced by as much as 77%, while the consumption of nuts and seeds should be increased by as much as 15 times the current intake.
The planetary diet, according to its authors, is supposed to be healthy and tasty. It is supposed to be a remedy for diseases of civilization: obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer. They estimate that such a dietary model would save 11 million people from premature death caused by poor nutrition.
The planetary diet is therefore to be plant-based, with an average daily caloric intake of 2,500 kcal. The good news for “meat eaters” is that the diet does not completely exclude meat from the menu. It is allowed, for example, to eat one beef burger and two servings of fish per week. You don’t have to give up dairy completely, either.
The planetary diet was inspired by two diets considered “healthy”, namely the Mediterranean diet and the diet from the Japanese island of Okinawa.
News recently circulated in the media that researchers at the National University of Singapore had succeeded in obtaining “squid discs” printed using a 3D printer from algae and mung bean proteins. As the creators assure, the vegan discs are tasty, healthy and easy to process, such as they can be fried, baked or cooked. The researchers also succeeded in obtaining a substance resembling fish meat. A 3D printer and protein derived from legumes were used to make it happen.
Globally, 3D printing restaurants have been around for a few years, and the choice of food printers is quite large. However, for the time being, we have nothing to look forward to the 3D printer becoming a fixture in our kitchen. There is still a long way to go. This is due to the rather high prices of such equipment and the limitations of the printers themselves. This is because 3D printers are mainly suitable for creating intricate shapes and patterns, not for cooking or baking ingredients. Once the 3D printing process is complete, we usually get a semi-finished product that can be cooked, for example, in the oven or on the grill.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology is used to print food products and uses industrial software designed to print plastic and metal parts. Admittedly, printers adapted to the manufacture of specific products have appeared, such as. PancakeBot designed to print pancakes (pictured, fptp PancakeBot) or CocoaPress, enabling chocolate products to be made into elaborate and intricate shapes.
What are the advantages of 3D printing in food processing? Above all, 3D printing makes it possible, in addition to shaping, to control the nutritional content and composition of the printed products. 3D printing also makes it possible to change their consistency. The original material can be shredded and reshaped, which can be important in feeding the elderly or children. 3D food can also work well for those choosing a plant-based diet. Attractive-looking, balanced meals printed with fruits and vegetables can be an alternative to meat and animal products.
It is also not insignificant that 3D printing can help reduce food waste. It is estimated that approx. 30% of globally produced food goes to waste, mostly in developed countries. With a 3D printer, it is possible to make some of the food discarded due to unappetizing appearance or simply leftover food can be reused. For now, the high price of the 3D printers themselves stands in the way of using 3D printing for this purpose. However, intensive work is already underway to patent solutions to make making food from food scraps simple and cost-effective.
Cellular meat (laboratory, cultured, cultured, in vitro) is produced in bioreactors by in vitro culture of stem cells taken from an animal. The stem cells that are used in the study are taken from animals at the slaughterhouse or by biopsy. Cells are “fed” with a medium consisting of nutrients: amino acids, glucose, vitamins, inorganic salts and proteins. Chicken meat, beef, pork, lamb, fish meat can be produced in this way. Depending on the type of meat, the process takes from 2 to 8 weeks.
The first beef burger derived from cellular meat (WEF pictured) was unveiled in London in 2013. and since then intensive work has been going on to commercialize these products. In 2020. Singapore was the first country in the world to allow the sale of cultured meat.
Today, the sector is growing rapidly, especially in countries such as the United States, which accounts for more than 60% of the world’s investment in mobile meat, Israel, Japan and China. Europe does not particularly stand out against this backdrop: only three of the world’s top ten companies in the industry are from Europe: HigherSteaks (UK), Mosa Meat (Netherlands) and Biotech Foods (Spain).
At the end of June this year. Good Meat and Upside Foods have received approval from the US Department of Agriculture to sell cell-reared chicken meat in the US. Meat raised in the lab will first be available in restaurants and later in supermarkets.
However, there are countries where this nutritional innovation is seen as a threat to traditional agriculture and traditional farming. In Italy, the parliament has passed legislation that bans the use of lab-grown meat and other synthetic products.
And what does it look like in Poland? The first company to take on the task of producing meat from a test tube is LabFarm. The company launched a laboratory in Warsaw’s Wilanów district in December 2021, where work is underway to grow poultry meat. The project also envisages the establishment of a high-tech research center in Pionki and the launch of a pilot line for meat production in 2025. And there is a lot to fight for, as according to the “Meat Atlas” published in 2022. “Meat Atlas” 63% of respondents confirmed that they would try cellular meat.
Proponents of introducing cultured meat to the market emphasize its advantages over traditional meat. It is supposed to be healthier because it is not exposed to zoonotic diseases. There are no viruses, bacteria, parasites, there are no antibiotics in it, and manufacturers can control its composition. In vitro meat production itself has a potentially lower environmental impact because there is no need to raise and slaughter animals, and there are fewer risks associated with infections from diseases transmitted by live animals.
The problem, however, is the cost of production ( in vitro meat is not cheap), the scale of production, and regulatory and ethical issues. Besides, at present, large-scale production of cellular meat would have to involve the slaughter of livestock, since the number of cells collected by fine-needle biopsy is insufficient for such production and must be constantly replenished. Perhaps these difficulties can be overcome by the achievement of researchers at Tufts University (USA), who have created immortal stem cells that produce cow muscle. Using them, it will be possible to produce much more meat. Another way to produce in vitro meat on a large scale, implemented by GOOD Meat, is in large bioreactors using 3D printing technology.
Japanese researchers at Osaka University came up with a similar idea. They succeeded in 2021. grow beef in the lab, from muscle-derived stem cells taken from Wagyu cows. What sets Wagyu cow meat apart is its texture. The most expensive and considered the world’s best Kobe beef comes precisely from Wagyu cows, raised mainly in Japan and Australia.
In an experiment conducted by the researchers, this distinctive pattern was successfully reproduced. Using bioengineering techniques, the scientists caused the cells to transform into the structures they wanted – identical to those found in live cows. This created several types of tissue: muscle tissue, fat tissue and blood vessels. The cells created in this way were used to create a biotouch, which in turn was used in an innovative 3D printer that allows layers to be printed from different materials. During printing, the fibers of muscle, fat and blood vessels were formed alternately and were arranged according to the structure you can see in meat. So the meat has a distinctive marbled pattern, veins and chunks of fat – something that other types of lab-grown meat are devoid of.
Whether these new ideas, increasingly promoted in the media, will gain favor with consumers will become apparent in the near future.