According to recent studies, improving fats may be the key to producing tastier, meat-free products. Animal fat is produced at Hoxton Farms in London without the use of animals. They start with a number of animal cells that are revived in a laboratory incubator. The following step involves growing these cells in a laboratory mixer for roughly three weeks. A special mixture of plant elements is then given to the cells at that time. Animal fat has traditionally been obtained from coconut oil, but this oil has a lower melting point, or the temperature at which fat turns from a solid to a liquid. However, using coconut and other oils has some advantages: they are widely available and not expensive. Hoxton Farms believes it can compete with traditional oils in the future, but it will need to expand.

One of Hoxton Farms’ co-founders, Ed Steele, claims that his company’s product can save manufacturers money by removing the need for extra ingredients like flavorings and binders in addition to plant oils. Linda Ho, a lead food scientist at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Centre for Culinary Innovation, says that natural flavorings can frequently be used to provide the “meaty” flavor. “There is quite a bit of research being done to replicate, using plant-based ingredients, the umami and savory flavors experienced when consuming meats.”