Over the past two years, the alternative meat industry has seen impressive growth, mostly thanks to Impossible meat and Beyond Meat cementing themselves key market players. However, while these offer an alternative but not quite real-tasting replacement to the beloved burger, an Israeli startup named SavorEat claims it’s working on creating the real thing: a meaty sensation, the aroma of the beef, and basically all the good stuff, all without even a gram of animal product.
Not just another veggie burger
Israeli FoodTech startup SavorEat has developed a whole ecosystem to create “the ultimate vegan burger”, dividing the process into a few stages: Unlike the standard veggie burgers, and other products from the same family that we recognize from our supermarket, SavorEat’s raw material can transform into a variety of different meat-like textures, resembling and feeling like the real thing that needs no hunting nor farming. Just “print” your meal. “When you take a bite, you’ll feel and taste as if it’s meat,” promises SavorEat CEO Racheli Vizman. She continues to explain, that it’s not just the feel and taste that changes the game, but supply chains become more efficient, lifting the burden of costs because unlike proper cow beef that needs freezing to keep edible, SavorEat’s material can be stored at room temperature for up to a few months.
However, with all the glaring upside, Vizman isn’t creating a new market, but rather joining an existing one with a few key players, who are behind the alternative meat market’s incredible rise. Considering all this, Vizman seems to understand the potential issues here. “Alternative meat is no longer a question of if, we know it’s possible,” admits Vizman when I push her about the leading competitors. “The question has always been, how do you stand out from the herd?” Right now, it looks like it’ll be a few years before we can buy the alternative meat products in the supermarket, but that doesn’t mean you won't be able to take the taste test at a local burger joint in the near future.
Are you sitting down? Great. Because SavorEat’s development doesn’t stop at the raw material, it takes you all the way through the preparation process, with a robot-printing-chef that will “grill” up those burgers in no time. Vizman describes the system as completely automated, claiming all you need to do is walk into a restaurant with SavorEat’s product, choose through the app which burger you want and how you want it cooked, wait 6 minutes and chow down. “Adding to the advantages of the product is the fact that due to the “grilling” being entirely automated, there is no need for skilled personnel to operate the system. So if you own a restaurant, then forget about training a griller or sous-chef, everything is already up-to-code.”
Aiming to do to food what Spotify did to music
Nevertheless, the battle to the top food chain is not without even local competitors, as Israel’s vegan-friendly ecosystem has become a hotbed for Next-Gen alternative meat products just like Redefine Meat, another Israeli FoodTech startup. Vizman claims that SavorEat is about to do to the food industry what Spotify did to the music, all thanks to one key element - personalization. You, the consumer, will have the power to decide on the burger’s texture or even its nutritional value. This way, you can make a customized burger tailor-fitted to your craving, and each time know, that it will taste the way you like it. “We control the process, making it possible for the consumer to dictate protein levels, how much fat, how they want it cooked, size, and ingredients. This just doesn’t exist anywhere, not only in beef or alternative industries but anywhere.”
On Sunday, the company happily announced a $3 million Series A funding round from Israeli investment management company Meitav Dash. It was just two weeks ago that the FoodTech startup raised $1.75 million in Seed funding from Millennium Food-Tech. However, Vizman explains that the deal with Millennium was closed months ago, but was eventually delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis. “Following the Coronavirus, the market halted, and so did Millennium. It wouldn’t have been enough to hit the goals we set for ourselves.” The two deals will further advance R&D efforts, probably also leaving some extra change in the jar.
Most of the time when we are introduced to these utopian alternative meat solutions, we are usually quickly reminded that the day that it becomes a standard fix on our plates and between our buns is still pretty for away. However, in SavorEat’s case, Vizman commits that a pilot will begin next year at Israeli burger chain BBB. The aforementioned funds will also go towards operating and financing the initial pilot.
Burgers maybe God’s gift to humanity, but the company is not gonna get stuck as a one-trick pony, SavorEat will also produce a variety of other meat, and even seafood, products. “All we do is change the protein levels, taste materials, aroma, etc… The whole point is to provide, us, the consumers with better quality and healthier choices while also satisfying our cravings.” During the company’s first 3 years, expect them to use a B2B business model, while down the road Vizman claims that B2C is not out of the realm of possibility. She claims that just like how Nespresso brought the professional coffee maker into the home from the cafe, so will SavorEat, bring your restaurant dining experience into the comfort of your own home.
SavorEat was founded in 2018 by CEO Racheli Vizman and Ido Braslavsky. The company currently has 10 employees at its Israel-based offices.