Slovenian start-up Juicy Marbles has achieved the impossible, revealing this week its vegan filet mignon which is said to rival the real thing in taste, appearance, and texture. For those who prize steak dinners for celebratory events, the vegan filet mignon provides a plant-based alternative so there's no decadence left behind when replacing animal products with plants.

Juicy Marbles is making the plant-based filet available for delivery in 48 states and Europe for a limited time with hopes to increase its availability. Juicy Marbles materialized from the minds of food technologist Tilen Travnik, microbiologist Luka Sincek, and biotechnologist Maj Hrovat in 2020. The three scientists launched the start-up to expand the range of proteins available for plant-based consumers. The company sees a future where plant-based diets are widespread but believes that in order to get there, consumers need the flavors and foods that they want.

“We can’t expect a necessary global diet shift towards plant-based without a wide variety of plant meats that will not only enable the continuation of culinary traditions but also enable a well-balanced and wholesome diet,” Travnik said.

The revolutionary steak is completely free of animal products, mimicking the real flavor with none of the cruelty. Juicy Marbles produced the vegan filet by layering soy protein into fibers using a Meat-o-Matic Reverse Grinder TM 9000. The machine is used to reverse-engineer animal meat and enhance flavor, juiciness, crust, and nutrition profile. Juicy Marbles’ soy protein product contains all the things people love about a steak with zero animal products and showcases the potential for future meat-free proteins.

The plant-based steak can be purchased at $147.58 for a four-serving tenderloin, but the company hopes to bring down the price by scaling up production. Juicy Marbles hopes to provide an efficiently made, environmentally friendly, and deliciously nutritious form of protein that will make more than just plant-based eaters excited.

“The biggest challenge was getting the right fiber alignment and intramuscular fat structure--the marbling,” Sincek said, “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.”

Juicy Marbles intends to spreads its wings and establish itself internationally. The startup expects to open a production facility in Austin, Texas, setting its roots in North America. The facility would eventually allow the company to decrease its price, and it hopes to bring the price below store-bought animal meat in two years' time.

If you can’t wait for the steaks to cheapen, the startup is currently searching for a select number of taste-testers, and those selected will receive two vegan steaks for $20. The new product will be more widely available over the next few years, and a larger number of consumers can put the flavor profile to the test.

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