UC Berkeley Alt-Meat Researcher Wins Grant

Ricardo San Martin wants to improve the texture of alternative meats.


Kristan Lawson

UC Berkeley researcher Ricardo San Martin has just won a Good Food Institute grant that could potentially expand the production of plant-based meats. 

A research director and industry fellow in the Alt.Meats Program at UC Berkeley's Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, has studied alternative meats for many years, as reported at the Daily Californian.

He will use the funding to pursue his research into the incorporation of oil into plant-based meats — which, when made from soy or pea proteins, are unmanageably dry. To remedy this, companies commonly add coconut oil, which San Martin told the Daily Californian "is not good for health." 

He and his team might experiment with developing nano-scale particles that they hypothesize will enhance alt-meat's flavor and texture. 

The Good Food Institute, a three-year-old nonprofit aimed at supporting a healthy, humane, and sustainable food supply, announced last summer the launch of a new competitive grant program amounting to $3 million, to be divided among numerous recipients performing significant plant- and cell-based meat research. Along with San Martin, the fourteen winners based all over the world include a Norwegian stem-cell developer, an Israeli quinoa-meat researcher, and a Chinese scholar studying how to help bean proteins taste less beany. 

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