MailOnline has tasted the world’s first plant-based filet mignon steak, and it’s amazingly close to the real thing.
Created by a Slovenian company called Juicy Marbles, fake filet mignon contains fat made from sunflower oil and soy protein that mimics real meat.
Instead of using 3D printing or scaffolding, Juicy Marbles uses a patent-pending machine to align the protein “fiber” layers from the bottom up.
This results in a texture that mimics the fibers found in beef tissue, resulting in juicy chunks that are “gently ripped.”
However, the product commands a good price that is worthy of a true 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, but velvety.
Juicy Marbles uses a machine called the ‘Meat-o-Matic 9000’, which layers proteins into linear fibers, mimicking muscle structures.
JUICY MARBLE FILLET MIGNON
- I am protein
- wheat protein
- Sunflower oil
- Beetroot powder
- Yeast extract
- B12 vitamin
- Thickeners and emulsifiers
Nutrition (per 113 g of steak):
- Energy: 193 kcal
- Fat: 7.1g
- Carbohydrate: 2g
- Protein: 26g
Juicy Marbles says on its website: ‘The experience is exquisite. The texture is firm, but velvety. As the juicy bits gently fall off, one can begin to question reality. One can describe it as succulent, delicious 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 located inside the tenderloin.
Filet mignon is a prized cut because that particular piece of muscle is not weight-bearing, so it is naturally soft and tender.
To replicate the luxurious consistency of filet mignon, Juicy Marbles does not use 3D printing or grow it in a lab, unlike other current methods.
Instead, it uses a mysterious machine called the ‘Meat-o-Matic 9000’, which layers proteins into linear fibers, mimicking muscle structures.
The main ingredients in the fibers are water, soy protein, wheat protein, salt, and beetroot powder, which does a decent job of replicating the deep pink color of beef, without bleeding.
Juicy Marbles has also used sunflower oil to replicate the marbling of a filet mignon: the web of creamy white fat that makes beef so juicy.
The Juicy Marbles product also has a similar calorie count to real filet mignon: 100g is around 170kcal for each.
The first thing that struck me after taking the plant-based filet mignon out of the package was the texture: it’s mushy and a bit moist, like beef.
Again, just like the real thing, Juicy Marbles filet mignon is best sprinkled with salt before cooking.
Filet mignon is a cut of meat taken from the smaller end of a cow’s loin: the long, narrow, lean muscle located inside the tenderloin.
A four-pack of plant-based filet mignon steaks comes wrapped in plastic and could easily be mistaken for beef based on appearance alone
EATING MEAT AND DAIRY HARMS THE PLANET, SAY SCIENTISTS
Eating meat and dairy at the current rate of consumption is accelerating global warming, scientists say.
Cows, pigs, and other farm animals release large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Methane is about 25 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat.
Raising cattle also means turning forests into farmland, which means trees that absorb CO2 are being cut down, further fueling global warming. More trees are being cut down to turn the land into crops, as about a third of all grain produced in the world is used to feed animals raised for human consumption.
In addition to this, nitrogen-based fertilizer used on crops increases 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 was slightly smoky so that the exterior quickly took on a nice golden crust.
Cooking the plant-based steaks only took a few minutes on each side. I served them with a very basic side dish: French fries, peas, and ketchup, which probably didn’t do the product justice.
In fact my fries were a bit undercooked because I was so desperate to eat my food and try the steaks.
Easily the best thing about the Juicy Marbles steak was the texture: the way the individual fibers fell apart easily was remarkably similar to beef fibers.
Sunflower oil fat lines are also arranged so that the interior remains moist and gives the steak a rich, succulent mouthfeel.
Taste-wise, there’s a very subtle telltale hint of soy in the flesh, as you’d expect, but the crispy seared crust on the outside is very deep and meaty.
At the dinner table, I really don’t think many would say this ‘steak’ is animal-free, especially if you topped it with a hearty red wine juice or peppercorn sauce.
Unfortunately, plant-based filet mignon doesn’t come cheap: a pack of four 113g steaks, including delivery, costs €45 or £38.50.
Shoppers have the option to save money by buying in bulk: four packs of four (that’s 16 steaks in total) cost €96 (£82), including postage.
That costs just over £5 per steak, which is about the price you’d pay for a half-decent beef steak in the supermarket.
I served the Juicy Marbles Steaks with a simple side: French Fries, Peas, and Ketchup
Easily the best thing about the Juicy Marbles steak was the texture – the fake meat just falls apart.
It’s worth it? I would say almost. If you are hosting a dinner party, vegan or vegetarian friends will be happy to try this product, especially if they used to eat meat and still have occasional cravings.
Alternatively, feed all your carnivorous friends, listen to them rave about what the best meat they’ve ever tasted is like, and then surprise them by telling them it’s vegan.
I am not vegan or vegetarian, but I do believe in a future where animal meat has been replaced by ethical, organic, plant-based, and lab-grown options.
Juicy Marbles is clearly pushing the limits with its product, which could be key to getting meat addicts to cut back.
Although eating meat at the current rate of consumption has been linked to global warming, the UK government has no plans to tell people to cut back.
Earlier this month, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the government will not force the public to stop eating meat for environmental reasons, as humans are “ultimately omnivorous”.
HUMAN CELLS TAKE LESS PROTEIN FROM PLANT-BASED MEAT, STUDY SAYS
Protein-rich plants, such as soybeans, are common ingredients in vegan burgers and sausages.
But a new study shows that the proteins in these plant-based substitutes aren’t as accessible to human cells as those in meat.
The study authors, from Ohio State University, say this knowledge could eventually be used to develop healthier products.
To mimic the look and texture of beef, chicken, and other meats, the plants are dried into a powder and mixed with seasonings.
The blends are then typically heated, moistened, and processed through an extruder.
These products are often thought of as healthier than animal meats because the plants used to make them are high in protein and low in undesirable fats.
However, laboratory tests have shown that the proteins in substitutes do not break down into peptides as well as those in meats.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids described as the “building blocks” of hormones, toxins, proteins, enzymes, cells and tissues.
For their study, the researchers tested whether human cells can absorb similar amounts of peptides from a model meat alternative as they can from a piece of chicken.
They created a model alternative to meat made from soy and wheat gluten. When opened, the material had long, stringy pieces inside, like chicken.
Cooked pieces of the substitute and chicken meat were ground up and broken down with an enzyme that humans use to digest food.
In vitro tests showed that meat substitute peptides were less soluble in water than those from chicken and were also not as well absorbed by human cells.
With this new understanding, the researchers say the next step is to identify other ingredients that could help increase the absorption of peptides from plant-based meat substitutes.
The study was published Wednesday (June 22) in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.