Source: Cocuus

A 3D printed food firm is developing a plant-based bacon product for the UK market and is seeking local partners for a launch.

Spanish company Cocuus delivered its first batch of 3D printed plant-based bacon to Carrefour in Spain earlier this month, marking the first time such products have retailed globally, it claims.

Vegan foie gras and plant-based tuna – “that mimics the texture, structure and taste of regular tuna and the same nutritional benefits” – are scheduled to follow in the coming months.

The food-tech firm analyses the “morphological structure” of different meat products, digitalises their molecular structures and maps them, before “rapidly, reliably and realistically replicating them on an industrial scale”.

While other bacon-like plant-based offerings are already on the market, 3D printing allows for a product that “goes much further in mimicking the real thing”, the company says.

“The product is composed of a meaty section, a fatty part and a thin crust on one side. When the bacon is cooked, each part reacts differently to heat in the pan, just like regular bacon does,” said Patxi Larrumbe, co-founder and chairman of Cocuus.

“This 3D printing technology allows us to carry out industrial scale production, efficiently creating plant-based products that have the look, feel, and taste of meat and fish,” Larrumbe added.

The company is also developing machines that can 3D print reconstructed whole cuts of meat, which substitute animal fat with vegetable oils, and are enriched with micronutrients such as vitamins, Omega 3, and minerals.

Cocuus said British consumers were much more familiar with such products than those in the south of Europe, so it was developing a “specific product formulation adapted to UK consumer tastes” and had begun looking for a UK partner for a launch.

The company claims it is the first globally to reach industrial scale production of 3D printed foods, and is capable of producing around 1,000 tonnes of plant-based bacon a year.