TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israeli startup Redefine Meat on Tuesday expanded operations into Europe where it hopes to reach thousands of restaurants by the end of next year and served for the first time its plant-based whole cuts of alternative meat.
The 3D-printed beef substitute was rolled out in Israel, as well as Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. A mix of soy and pea protein, chickpeas, beetroot, nutritional yeasts and coconut fat, it mimics flank steak, which is also known as bavette.
The company, which until now worked with about 150 restaurants in Israel, said the whole cuts will broaden the appeal of alternative meat products that have mostly been limited to ground-beef dishes, including hamburgers and sausages.
"This is the money-maker. This is the reason we have meat," CEO Eshchar Ben-Shitrit said.
Their larger cuts of alternative meat are more complicated to produce and still evolving.
"We're scaling up the capacity. Every batch that we make is five times larger than the previous batch. So we're changing ... the machines, the flow and we're also changing the product attributes," he said.
The company plans to build five factories across Israel, Europe, the United States and Asia in the coming few years.
As technology advances and improves the taste and variety of alternative meats, sales in the sector could reach $140 billion by 2029, about 10% of the world meat market, Barclays estimates.
Competition is already high, with players including California's Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods and Spain's Novameat.
Redefine Meat previously announced it had secured $35 million in funds and said it has also raised a greater amount, but would not disclose how much.
"We raised the largest amount by far that an Israeli alternative meat company has ever raised," Ben-Shitrit said.
For perspective, earlier this year Israel's Aleph Farms, which is developing a method to cultivate meat in the lab from cow cells, raised $105 million.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; editing by Barbara Lewis)