THE WORLD of red meat minus livestock has taken some big strides this month, both on home soil and overseas, and those leading the way claim their products are an 'intersection of food, technology and fine art'.
In Israel, cultured meat manufacturing has moved into Wagyu-style 'customised marbling' while in Melbourne, a start-up is making lamb mince in a laboratory from just a small sample of skin cells taken from a live animal.
International company Steakholder Foods - formerly MeaTech - has unveiled gourmet premium beef cuts with customised marbling made without animals.
Called Omakase Beef Morsels, the product is made up of multiple layers of muscle and fat tissue cultivated from bovine cells. They were created using advanced three dimensional bio-printing technology.
3D printing beef is not new but the precision fat marbling element is. The Steakholder Foods' technology has the ability to produce what the company is calling 'personalised' cuts of cultured meat with a variety of marbling patterns and ratios, in any predefined design, shape or structure.
The amount of fat content and muscle, as well as nutritional composition can be customised according to individual preferences.
The company says the move offers a glimpse into what the future may hold in terms of fine dining and customised cuisine, where 'richly marbled and elegantly designed premium quality cultured beef cuts are sold as a delicacy for premium dining experiences'.
Steakholder Foods has been a pioneer of the cultured meat industry.
It says this latest product can exceed the marbling precision of Wagyu.
"Each layer is printed separately using two different bio-inks, one for muscle and one for fat," the company's launch statement said.
"The layers can be printed in a variety of muscle/fat sequences which effects the juiciness and marbling of the cut. The product can be printed with any marbling ratio, shape or width."
Stakeholder Foods, which also has facilities in Belgium and more recently the United States, is also behind the largest ever printed cultured steak, at 3.67 ounces or just over 100 grams.
Chief executive officer Arik Kaufman said the new product marked a significant milestone in his company's quest to perfect the holy grail of meat - steak.
"We want to inspire chefs around the world to create mouthwatering culinary masterpieces and unforgettable dining experiences," he said.
Meanwhile, Victorian makers of cultivated meat Magic Valley are now in discussions with the regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand seeking to gain approval for it's minced lamb product, which it says it can have available in small volumes for sale to restaurants within 18 months.
Founded by passionate vegan Paul Bevan, Magic Valley brings together a team of Australian scientists with extensive experience in both stem cell biology and livestock production.
Magic Valley's website says its cultured meat is produced from a small sample of animal cells which are grown in a nutrient-rich culture medium where they can easily multiply and expand in order to create real meat products.
Magic Valley emphasises its products are not a plant-based meat substitute. It says the meat is no different from that obtained from a slaughtered lamb - real animal meat grown from real animal cells.