Researchers try 3D printers to make meat substitutes with thermal cocoa butter

In recent years, meat substitutes have quickly fallen out of the vegan community and are becoming more common in grocery stores and restaurants. Recently, the American Chemical Society’s “Food Technology” journal reported an interesting study – a research team has developed a novel combination of plant ingredients tailored for 3D printed meat substitutes. And in the 3D printed recipes, we saw an additive that seemed odd, and it was cocoa butter.

Researchers try 3D printers to make meat substitutes with thermal cocoa butter
(Source: ACSFood Science & Technology)

From animal welfare to environmental sustainability, there are many reasons why people choose meat alternatives. But the current common meat substitutes generally rely on plant-based proteins (usually from soy/wheat, etc.).

Unfortunately, even though many teams have tried 3D printing meat substitutes, there is still a lack of good ways to utilize specific plant proteins.

Researchers try 3D printers to make meat substitutes with thermal cocoa butter

With this in mind, Songbai Liu and Shanshan Wang wanted to find a way to provide china 3D printing machine with a soy/wheat protein “dough” for efficient production.

By testing the formulations of multiple ingredients, the researchers evaluated these mixtures based on how accurately the 3D printer placed the ingredients, how well their shapes were retained (and examined their texture and microstructure).

Interestingly, this experiment revealed the importance of concentrating additional ingredients (including Tween-80 emulsifier and sodium alginate) to provide good control over the texture of the finished product.
Researchers try 3D printers to make meat substitutes with thermal cocoa butter

In the end, “heat-sensitive cocoa butter” proved to play a very important role. It can make the raw material more fluid at higher temperatures, and then maintain the 3D printed,metal forging and cnc prototype shape at the delicate temperature.
This material is not without its drawbacks, however, especially for those who cannot eat wheat gluten or soy due to allergies or gastrointestinal intolerances.

Even when the researchers tried substituting peas for the soy protein in the ingredient list, the resulting dough was too soft to print.

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