An Israeli firm that combines 3D-printing technology from a smart robot, an innovative plant-based formula, and advanced cooking methods to create meat alternatives, became the first food tech company to hold an initial public offering (IPO) of shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).
The company, SavorEat, announced last week that it has raised NIS 42.6 million (about $13 million) in the offering from leading Israeli institutional investors. The company’s valuation for the offering was NIS 170 million ($50 million.)
Founded in 2018 and based in Ness Ziona, SavorEat uses a “Robot Chef” that combines an automatic cooking process, proprietary 3D printing technology, and cartridges with plant-based ingredients to develop “a new generation of meat replacing products,” says SavorEat CEO Racheli Vizman. These products “recreate the unique experience, taste, and texture of meat in a convenient and aseptic way,” she says.
The new generation of plant-based meat is “inspired by first understanding the biochemical composition and three-dimensional structure of meat and then replicating these qualities using non-animal ingredients and novel manufacturing techniques. This is exactly what SavorEat is doing,” she tells NoCamels.
SavorEat was founded by Vizman, Chief Scientist Prof. Oded Shoseyov, and Prof. Ido Braslavsky. The technology was developed at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Agriculture and has received an exclusive commercialization license from the Hebrew University’s Yissum technology transfer company.
Vizman says SavorEat’s solution allows the company to create a variety of textures and designs that characterize meat while also being able to cook or grill their products within their creation process, depending on the consumer’s preference.
“SavorEat’s solution allows for the ability to personalize each dish to fit consumers’ specific diets, lifestyles, or medical conditions,” says Vizman.
The company’s solution – the robot and the proprietary ingredients and formulations to create meatless burgers – will first be available in restaurants while its team continues to develop a straight-to-consumer option.
Cartridges containing the ingredients — fat, flavors, plant-based proteins, cellulose and more — are inserted into the robot/printer to create the burger. One of the ingredients is fiber, which can be manipulated to mimic a variety of textures, including that of beef, muscle and fat. The burger is grilled, cooked, or baked and tailored to the individual consumer’s preferences.
One of the company’s draws – and what sets it apart from other meat alternative tech startups, both international and Israeli, such as Impossible Foods, Aleph Farms, Redefine Meat, and MeaTech – is the absence of the product’s need for storage and packaging. SavorEat’s alternative meat doesn’t need to be refrigerated and the ingredients have a long shelf-life stored at room temperature. The “burgers” are made fresh, on-site, and on-demand.
The product is also completely vegan and does not draw from animal cells, or cultured cells like other companies, and it is free of gluten, allergens, hormones, and antibiotics. Food safety concerns are also addressed, says Vizman, explaining that the solution is to fully automate the entire manufacturing and cooking process with no human touch and without the need for expensive labor costs.
This makes the product eco-friendly and sustainable, and positively impacts the supply chain, saving on inventory costs, energy, and reducing the carbon footprint, Savoreat indicates.
Prof. Shoseyov, SavorEat’s Chief Scientist, says the technology is a “significant step towards individually adapted food, the cutting of food manufacturing costs, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and a better future for the planet.”
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SavorEat has filed a patent claim in several countries including the US and Australia, and in Europe .
In January, the popular Israeli hamburger chain Burgus Burger Bar (BBB) announced a partnership with SavorEat to offer their meat alternative burgers at their restaurants for a price that is similar to existing vegan options.
The products and printers will be piloted in the BBB chain of restaurants by the summer of 2021.
BBB operates some 100 burger restaurants in Israel under three brands: BBB, Moses, and Burgerim. The restaurant group already offers vegan burgers made by American company Beyond Meat (which doesn’t come with a robot).
At a BBB, customers will be able to select the “burgers” from a SavorEat app and customize the dish, indicating their preferences for size, protein amounts, fat amounts and cooking level.
Then, “cartridges with the ingredients will be loaded in advance into the system, the waiter will push the button, and within a few minutes, burgers will be prepared and grilled and ready to be served to the customers,” Vizman says.
She encourages those interested to visit the company’s website and experience a demo.
SavorEat has other partnerships in the works, and is looking for collaborations outside Israel as well.
While the first dish to be introduced by SavorEat is a plant-based burger, Vizman says the technology is uniquely set to produce other alternative dishes to replace different animal-based food choices.
Future food products from the company may include meatless chicken breast, meatless steak, meatless shwarma or döner kebab, lamb and pork steak alternatives, minced meat alternatives, and seafood alternatives.
These ambitions tap into a meat substitute market that is expected to reach $8.1 billion by 2026, according to a 2019 report by Allied Market Research.
“Food tech is on the rise and the industry-academy collaborations are creating smarter technology food innovations and new ingredients,” says Vizman, “For me, it’s exciting to see that there are so many options. As long as companies keep developing alternative solutions, healthier, tastier options will be available and we will see a reduction in meat consumption. The future is flexitarian!”