Earlier this month, Slovenian startup Juicy Marbles launched what they claim is the world’s first raw and unseasoned plant-based filet mignon.
The team at Juicy Marbles – which includes food technologist, microbiologist and biotechnologist founders – have overcome the key challenge of marbling through their patent-pending machine, the Meat-o-matic Reverse Grinder™ 9000, which is able to mimic the muscle texture and marbling of meat by aligning and layering fibres from the bottom up, with all-natural ingredients.
Brands and pioneers within the plant-based meat industry have long strived for the ultimate marbling effect, one which aligns with consumer expectations and is synonymous with premium cuts of steak.
We have previously seen breakthroughs with 3D-printing technology and other lab-grown ventures around the world when it comes to mimicking steaks, with Juicy Marbles’ co-founder explaining that their Meat-o-matic machine utilizes “a couple of existing technologies, to which we have modified and added some of our own innovations.”
“The biggest challenge was getting the right fibre alignment and intramuscular fat structure – the marbling,” explained co-founder Luka Sincek.
“The most expensive steaks in the world are known for their lush marbling. It takes a lot of energy and a rare breed of cow to attain that.
“With plant meat, we control it and, thus, over time, can scale up our steak production and bring down the price. Eventually, we’ll be able to make the most premium meats attainable for everyone.”
“A sprinkle of salt, sizzle on the pan, and boom”
Juicy Marbles’ plant-based filet mignon is low in sodium, cholesterol-free, 100% natural and rich in protein.
According to the brand, the process is a simple, 100% physical process whereby linear fibres have soy protein layers interlaced, creating the desired revolutionary texture for steak lovers.
The main ingredients in the Juicy Marbles filet mignon are soy and wheat protein isolates, unsaturated sunflower seed oil and beetroot colouring, as well as a combination of natural, plant-based flavours and aromas.
The raw and unseasoned element is a key differentiator. Consumers in this space also want simplicity – the option to simply pan fry a nice ‘steak’ and to bring the product to life in their own way.
“Unlike most out there, our plant meats come unseasoned – we want to enable you as much space for creativity as you require,” the brand says.
This should appeal to both innovative chefs utilising healthier plant-based meat alternatives, and home cooks wanting to personalise their vegan options with their own spices, rubs and marinades.
“The allure of meat is not just texture or flavour, it’s also simplicity of preparation,” Vladimir Mickovic, Chief Brand Officer, added.
A sprinkle of salt, sizzle on the pan, and boom – you have a tasty protein on your plate.”
Artisan, honest and rebellious
The plant-based filet mignon is now available through the Juicy Marbles website, with the company shipping direct-to-consumer across the US and throughout Europe.
They’re selling it exclusively through their website for now and it’s fair to say it doesn’t come cheap: $79.96 for 2 x ‘Juicy A5 Filet Mignon’ 140g steaks.
The high price is primarily due to the production process, which is artisan and (in-part) hand-made. The product also contains both soy and wheat protein isolates which are at the higher, more premium end of plant-based protein ingredients.
Juicy Marbles has an honest yet rebellious marketing style, demonstrated on their website and social channels. It’s clear they’re not a corporate start-up, but more dynamic and transparent about their pricing.
It’s likely that as they grow and scale-up their production capabilities, they’ll remove the need for hand-made processes, and this will filter down into product prices which rival those of traditional meat offerings and other plant-based meat substitutes.
The adaptability and versatility of Juicy Marbles’ filet mignon is bound to grab the attention of a wide range of consumers, companies, and chefs, with their eye-catching marbling effect, taste, and texture looking to rival even the most premium animal-based steaks.
From a technical angle, this is certainly a leap forward and the plant-based filet mignon will surely be the envy of a good few plant-based companies out there.