Food scientists claim to be closing in on the elusive ingredient for fake meat products.
The ultimate goal is to be able to recreate the authentic juiciness, texture and taste of real meat.
Fake food makers say their products have come a long way since the first generation of plant-based burgers hit the market a few years ago.
The number of Australian and New Zealand plant-based meat, cultivated meat and precision fermentation companies has more than quadrupled from 2018 to now, an alternative proteins conference was told in Melbourne this week.
Global demand for protein is tipped to rise by 73 per cent by 2050, the AltProteins 22 conference was told.
Despite the advances in fake food science, many believe to win over consumers from outside vegan and vegetarian diets, the fake food still needs to taste like the real thing.
Cultured meat pioneer and publicly listed MeaTech from Israel recently held a tasting event where guests were invited to try hybrid chicken nuggets made with plant-based protein and cultured chicken fat.
"The feedback was overwhelmingly positive," the company said.
MeaTech's Belgian subsidiary Peace of Meat last year claimed to have successfully produced 700 grams of pure cultured chicken fat biomass in a single production run.
On the back of that breakthrough, MeaTech revealed plans to open a pilot plant and research facility in Belgium next year, to begin scaled-up production of cultured meat.
MORE READING: Fake food makers want to make friends with farmers.
Many believe cell-cultured fat, made from real animal cells, could be the key to improving the taste and texture challenges of plant-based meat alternatives.
Its makers claim cultured fat enhances the meaty flavor, juiciness and texture of plant-based meat substitutes.
Peace of Meat is partnering with ENOUGH, a producer of protein ingredients for fake foods "to accelerate its go-to-market strategy for hybrid products".
"This collaboration will combine Peace of Meat's expertise in developing cultured fat technologies with ENOUGH's development of mycoprotein-based food products, to create delicious and nutritious hybrid foods that better resemble real farm-raised meat products," a MeaTech spokeswoman said.
MeaTech expects cultured meat products to become available to consumers within the next two to three years.
MeaTech's chef prepared hybrid chicken nuggets that included Peace of Meat's cultured chicken fat biomass.
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