The jury may still be out on plant-based meat alternatives’ economic and environmental viability, but experts largely agree that the seafood industry in its current form is untenable. Overfishing presents countless ecological problems, including plastic pollution and the potential for a wholesale collapse of marine biodiversity. Researchers have been experimenting with seafood alternatives for years, but one company is finally ready to bring its offering to market—and it represents a major moment within the industry.
Austrian-based food-tech startup Revo Foods announced this week that its 3D-printed vegan fish filet “inspired by salmon” is heading to European grocery store shelves—a first for 3D-printed food. According to the company’s September 12 press release, the arrival of “The Filet” represents a pivotal moment in sustainable food, with 3D-printed consumables ready to scale at industrial volumes. Revo Foods’ Filet is likely to be just the first of many other such 3D-printed edible products to soon hit the market.
[Related: Scientists cooked up a 3D printed cheesecake.]
“Despite dramatic losses of coral reefs and increasing levels of toxins and micro plastic contaminating fish, consumer demand for seafood has paradoxically skyrocketed in recent decades,” the company announcement explains. “One promising solution to provide consumers with sustainable alternatives that do not contribute to overfishing is vegan seafood. The key to success of these products lies in recreating an authentic taste that appeals to [consumers].”
The Filet relies on mycoprotein made from nutrition-heavy filamentous fungi, and naturally offers a meat-like texture. Only another 12 ingredients compose Revo’s Filet, such as pea proteins, plant oils, and algae extracts. With its high protein and Omega-3 contents, eating a Revo Filet is still very much like eating regular salmon—of course, without all the standard industrial issues. And thanks to its plant-based ingredients, the Filet also boasts a three-week shelf life, a sizable boost from regular salmon products.
“With the milestone of industrial-scale 3D food printing, we are entering a creative food revolution, an era where food is being crafted exactly according to the customer’s needs,” Revo Foods CEO Robin Simsa said via this week’s announcement.
While Revo’s products are currently only available for European markets, the company says it is actively working to expand its availability “across the globe,” with Simsa telling PopSci the company hopes to enter US markets around 2025. Until then, hungry stateside diners will have to settle for the Revo Salmon dancehall theme song… yes, it’s a real thing.