This year has witnessed a whirlwind of exciting advancements and product releases in the alternative protein industry, and alternative fats have been no exception. However, for many of us with enthusiastic and curious taste buds, initial accessibility remains restricted to only a few regions or countries.
For instance, the USDA and FDA's recent regulatory approval of cultivated meat has made the United States the second country, alongside Singapore, to approve its sale. Many other countries are still a long way from obtaining approval, leaving many of us eagerly wondering about the taste and when we'll have the opportunity to try these innovative products.
That is why when we heard that Cultimate Foods, based in Berlin, recently hosted a highly anticipated product-tasting event, unveiling their groundbreaking ingredient, CultiFat, we had to learn more!
While we couldn't be there to try it, we wanted to gather some taste-testing feedback to satisfy our curiosity (if not our taste buds — yet!).
Culminate Foods produces real animal fat from cell cultures to elevate the flavour and texture of plant-based meat products.
We had an opportunity to catch up with Julia Martin, Programme Manager and Scientific Lead at ProVeg Incubator and one of the taste testers of CultiFat. She had the chance to taste CultiFat at the ProVeg headquarters in Berlin, a couple of days after their acclaimed ProVeg Incubator demo-day.
She described her experience as an "explosion of flavour, and a complexity of aromas." A nostalgic but also somewhat discomfiting taste, as she has not consumed meat in years.
Julia shared that the pre-cooked product was a pink, raw-looking burger patty, with no traces of bouillon or artificial smell, but rather the neutrality of fresh, raw meat.
George Zheleznyi, founder and CEO of Cultimate Foods, prepared the meat in traditional burger fashion, carefully measuring the temperature to achieve perfection, completing the dish with sauce, a slice of vegan cheese, tomato, lettuce, and brioche.
Julia said the cooked patty had developed a wealth of aromas that evoked childhood memories — a resounding endorsement of Cultimate's mission to produce more realistic-tasting plant-based meats.
Fat innovation has become increasingly essential within the alt-protein industry, with a recent Good Food Industry report noting that "sustainable alternative fat innovation is crucial for the success of the alternative meat industry." There are many reasons, including subpar taste, delicate melting points, and volatile markets of traditional plant-based fats (coconut oil, for example) used in plant-based foods.
With the addition of cultivated fat, a basic plant-based burger can acquire a taste and texture that closely resembles its animal-based counterpart. While some vegetarians and vegans may find the flavor somewhat unsettling, those who long for the taste of meat may embrace this product as a delicious alternative to traditional vegetarian options. Moreover, consumers continue to have even more choices as time goes on, with other companies working on the next generation of not just cultivated but fermented and plant-based fats. These industry leaders are committed to making the future of food even more delicious!
For a more in-depth review of alt-fats and their benefits, read our recent article: Is Fat the Next Frontier in Alternative Proteins?
Discover more companies working on alternative fats at Protein Directory, including: