Growing chicken meat from plants

Swiss start-up Planted develops substitute meat products from plant-based proteins. Its ‘chicken’ made from peas comes astonishingly close to replicating real chicken and is already on offer in ten restaurants across Switzerland.

Planted has set itself the goal of developing meat that does not come from animals, but that is rather manufactured from plant-based proteins. According to a press release from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, which is providing expertise and infrastructure to support the start-up, global meat production industry uses up both land and animal feed, as well as being responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“For this reason, we wanted to offer consumers an environmentally friendly substitute meat product which protects animal welfare,” said Lukas Böni, one of the three founders of Planted. The food scientists at Planted are particularly keen on ensuring that the plant-based substitute product also “incorporates cultural aspects related to meat consumption in that it above all tastes great”.

Planted has already developed its first product to market maturity: Planted Chicken is made from a dough comprising pea proteins and water, which is then pressed through a nozzle.

“We have to be able to precisely control the flow characteristics of the dough in order to achieve the characteristic fibrous quality of chicken meat,” Böni explains. The result is a product that “comes astonishingly close to replicating the appearance, texture and taste of real chicken”.

At the moment, Planted Chicken is available to try at ten specially selected restaurants in some of Switzerland’s largest cities, including Zurich and Geneva. Geneva. This network is set to be expanded on a gradual basis.

At the same time, Böni and his colleagues are working on developing other plant-based meat products given that the technology used for Planted Chicken could be used to imitate the protein fibers in other types of meat.

Image credit: Raphael Nogueira via Unsplash


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