The ‘world’s first’ edible vegan bones developed from plant protein

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

Slovenian start-up Juicy Marbles is claiming an industry first with the development of its Plant-based ‘Bone-In’ Ribs product, featuring ‘edible vegan bones’. Image source: Juicy Marbles
Slovenian start-up Juicy Marbles is claiming an industry first with the development of its Plant-based ‘Bone-In’ Ribs product, featuring ‘edible vegan bones’. Image source: Juicy Marbles

Related tags vegan plant-based

Plant-based meat maker Juicy Marbles is preparing to launch an early prototype of its ‘edible vegan bones’, made predominantly from plant protein, in EU, UK, and US markets.

Slovenian start-up Juicy Marbles is claiming an industry first with the development of its Plant-based ‘Bone-In’ Ribs product, featuring ‘edible vegan bones’.

The ‘bones’ have been developed predominantly from plant protein. According to Juicy Marbles, once consumers have finished eating the plant-based ribs they can bake, fry or air-fry the bones into ‘puffed, crispy snacks’. The start-up says the ribs contain ‘as much protein as beef jerky’.

“At Juicy Marbles, we don’t just aim to recreate the shape of meat, but the entire experience, as well as the macro/micronutrient profile,” ​said co-founder Vladimir Mićković.

Juicy Marbles aims to set itself apart from the plant-based crowd with its focus on raw, plant-based meat analogues. The start-up uses its proprietary Meat-o-Matic Reverse Grinder 9000 to mimic the muscle texture and marbling​ of meat by aligning and layering fibres from the bottom up.

Common ingredients in its products include soy and wheat protein, unsaturated sunflower seed oil, beetroot colouring, and natural flavours and aromas.

The new ribs are based on soy protein, explained the co-founder. “They need to be cooked, but as opposed to animal-based ribs which take hours, these only take 15-20 minutes to prepare.”

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The idea for the plant-based ribs and bones came from a shared sense of nostalgia for the ‘primal joys’ of eating ribs, as well as a need for more ‘food culture-friendly’ plant-based foods. Image source: Juicy Marbles

The idea for the plant-based ribs and bones came from a shared sense of nostalgia for the ‘primal joys’ of eating ribs, as well as a need for more ‘food culture-friendly’ plant-based foods.

The Plant-based ‘Bone-In’ Ribs product joins Juicy Marbles’ portfolio of plant-based whole-cut loin marbled with sunflower oil and a plant-based filet mignon.

“The experience of meat doesn’t end with flavour. There is a culture of celebration, sharing, and belonging around meat – part of a food culture thousands of years in the making. Anyone cutting down on meat can probably confirm that the hardest part is not missing meat’s flavour, but feeling excluded from cultural traditions.

“That’s why we chose ribs as our next product, rather than another cut of steak,” ​said Mićković. “We wanted to create something that evokes the primal joys of sharing food.”

As to why Juicy Marbles is taking meat mimicry to the next level with ‘edible vegan bones’, the co-founder said: ‘it’s just fun from every angle’. Bones, he explained, invite consumers to eat with their hands, to ‘tear off’ chunks of meat, and to share that experience with others at the table.

“It was also fun developing them,” ​he revealed. “Since we made the bones ourselves, we could actually question the concept of bones in general. We could challenge ourselves to make them useful – even edible.”

As to whether scaling could prove challenging, the co-founder said the process is​ ‘labour intensive’. “So there will be challenges with scale, but nothing we wouldn’t expect or couldn’t automate.

“But all our products were, at some point, almost completely handmade, steaks included. But with time, the process evolved, and automation ensued,” ​Mićković told this publication.

Juicy Marbles plans to launch its prototype ‘Bone-In’ product in the EU, UK and US at the end of the month. Given that ribs are considered a cheaper cut of meat, the company doesn’t expect to see price parity in the ‘first year or so’.

The product is also not ‘market ready’, stressed the co-founder. “We are simply testing it…Much like with steaks, the idea is to release a semi-early prototype and gather feedback. Talking to people, and in a way co-creating the product, is an essential part of our process.”

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