A new product meant to taste, smell and feel like ground beef has been launched by Beyond Meat, a cult US-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes.
The company is based in Los Angeles and supported by a number of celebrity investors including Bill Gates and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Beyond Meat was founded by Ethan Brown in 2009 and since 2013 has released a range of plant-based burger patties, sausages and “beef” crumbles.
This week the company announced the release of Beyond Beef, a plant-based product aimed at the biggest segment in the beef market, the ground (mince) beef category.
Beyond Beef said the new product contained no antibiotics, hormones, gluten, soy, or GMOs and had 25 per cent less saturated fat than real beef.
The company said it was made from a blend of pea, mung bean and rice proteins.
In the past year the company has expanded to more than 35,000 restaurants, grocery stores, universities, hotels, and stadiums.
Mr Brown has said previously his ambition is to go all the way to plant-based “steak”.
The company claims to have sold 50 million burgers since 2016.
Beyond Meat says Beyond Beef will be released in retailers nationwide in the US later this year.
Meanwhile, the push into plant-based meat substitutes is continuing to gain momentum.
In January Nestlé announced plans to soon introduce a plant-based burger called the “Incredible Burger”.
Dutch company, Vivera, launched a plant-based “steak” in May last year through Europe’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco.
Other companies are focusing on lab-grown meat. Last year Israeli start-up, Aleph Farms, claimed it had produced the world’s first cell-grown beef steak.
Dutch food technology company, Mosa Meat - whose founder, Mark Post, created the world’s first lab-grown hamburger in 2013 - is pressing on with the development of commercial meat products using cell-culture technologies.
The company is growing cow cells in a laboratory to produce "real" meat.
Professor Post will be a keynote speaker at the ProVeg International New Food Conference in Berlin on March 21-22.
The conference will bring together representatives from the plant-based and cultured protein sector across the world along with a host of media.
It will no doubt provide organisers with an opportunity to criticise livestock farming.