Have you watched the documentary „Seaspiracy” on Netflix? While most people are aware of the negative consequences of meat production, this documentary shines a light on how seafood is produced, and boy, it is not pretty!
Even though most people have heard of “Overfishing” or “Microplastics”, it is really hard to get consumers to eat less fish. It is just too tasty! But if we keep eating the amounts of fish that we eat today, there will not be many fish left in the oceans soon enough.
So, what can be done about it? Since people love the taste of fish so much, why not give them something that tastes as delicious as fish but produced in a more ocean-friendly way? Our solution, delicious plant-based seafood alternatives.
Plant-based seafood is already available, and you can find products such as vegan fish burgers or fish sticks in many countries by now. But what about those tasty fish fillets, that melt in your mouth and remind you of the flavor of the ocean? Unfortunately, there is nothing like that out there yet. Think of a salmon fillet: It has an incredibly complex structure, and the orange muscle is connected perfectly with the white connective tissue. This complexity is impossible to recreate with existing technology. That is why at Revo Foods, we are developing a new technology to make the idea of a plant-based salmon fillet a reality.
3D Food Printing
Using 3D Food Printing to create plant-based fish raises some eyebrows. And you might be asking yourself, why do they need a 3D Food Printer to do that? 3D Food Printing is not so different from many other production methods currently used in the food industry. The biggest difference is that with 3D Printing you have a complete control of the final texture and structure of the product since you can fine-tune all parameters to reach the pure essence. For instance, you can change the temperature of the food ingredients while printing, which leads to a different mouthfeel of the final product. The traditional food industry is very good at producing huge amounts of food items which all look and feel exactly the same. For the first time in history, with 3D Printing is possible to produce every food item a little bit different from each other. This is an incredible revolutionizing thought, when thinking about personalized nutrition and ultra-realistic structures.
The founders Robin Simsa and Theresa Rothenbücher were already working on meat alternatives and 3D bioprinting during their PhD programs. After some brainstorming, they reckoned that a combination of those 2 fields may lead to exciting new products. After starting to work at Revo Foods from 2019, the small startup soon set up their camp in the beautiful city of Vienna, and began recruiting an amazing team of food technologists and engineers.
Not soon thereafter, the first product was ready to be tasted by hungry fish-lovers: The Revo Smoked Salmon! Fun fact: The team still has videos of the food technologists jumping in the lab-kitchen in pure joy when tasting the final prototype, they were just amazed by how good it was! And they did not want to keep this tasty salmon for themselves, instead they were eager to share it with the whole world. That’s why they organized the world´s first public tasting of plant-based 3D printed smoked salmon in Vienna on March 2021. Remember, this was during the height of the COVID pandemic, which did not help to organize such big tasting event, but somehow, they managed, and customers were quite enthusiastic with the results. One vegan customer mentioned “This tastes so much like salmon, I can hardly eat it”. No need to mention, that this was a fantastic compliment.
The young company 2021 develops quickly and is now the fastest growing Austrian food tech startup operating in the fish alternative field. In its first fundraising round Revo Foods raised more than 1.8 million € which help the company develop faster by increasing the team up to 9 members and investing in technology and R&D to accelerate the project.
After the first market start in restaurants in June 2021, Revo Foods is excited to continue the fast development, and to develop even more tasty seafood, such as tuna fillets and sushi/sashimi. Ultimately, Revo Foods is planning to build the first fully automized 3D food printing production facility by 2022 to deliver tasty, sustainable and nutritious plant-based seafood to fish lovers all around the world.
To further accelerate our progress, Revo Foods applied for the EIT Food Accelerator Network and was one of the fortunate startups selected for the program in 2021. Choosing the EIT FAN Helsinki Hub for our application was a positive advantage for our development due to the strong focus on alternative proteins and meat replacements. The program has helped us to connect with experts and investors, and to gain valuable knowledge in marketing, business development, pitching and other useful tools for startups. Currently, Revo Foods is looking for investors to help us sped up the construction of the first pilot plant, and co-manufacturers to further develop the business in the Nordics, and will hope to get valuable connections and expertise from the EIT FAN programme to achieve these goals.
Written by: Emilio Aragón, Business Developer at Revo Foods