KFC 3D printed chicken nuggets might be on the menu in the not too distant future. The fast food giant has announced it is partnering with a research laboratory in Russia to develop what it calls the “meat of the future”.
The idea is to take the cells of a chicken and grow them in the lab. The substance would then be ‘printed’ in sheets which would then be diced into nuggets.
KFC claims the futuristic “biomeat” nuggets would be cleaner because production would require fewer additives than traditional farming. The potential reduction in farming also offers huge environmental benefits.
Although it still wouldn’t be to the taste of a vegetarian, because it would still fundamentally be chicken meat, the biomeat concept has the support of some animal welfare advocates too.
But what will these biomeat nuggets taste like? Chicken, probably.
KFC experimenting for ‘restaurant of the future’
“At KFC, we are closely monitoring all of the latest trends and innovations and doing our best to keep up with the times by introducing advanced technologies to our restaurant networks,” Raisa Polyakova, General Manager of KFC Russia & CIS said in a statement.
“Crafted meat products are the next step in the development of our ‘restaurant of the future’ concept. Our experiment in testing 3D bioprinting technology to create chicken products can also help address several looming global problems.
“We are glad to contribute to its development and are working to make it available to thousands of people in Russia and, if possible, around the world.”
3D bioprinting technologies are already widely used in medicine and now their food production potential are attracting huge interest, according to the research company working on the KFC 3D printed chicken nuggets.
“In the future, the rapid development of such technologies will allow us to make 3D-printed meat products more accessible and we are hoping that the technology created as a result of our cooperation with KFC will help accelerate the launch of cell-based meat products on the market,” said 3D Bioprinting Solutions co-founder Yusef Khesuani.
KFC 3D printed chicken nuggets boast animal welfare and eco benefits
KFC claims bioprinting meat doesn’t cause any harm to animals. They also say it reduces the need for “various additives that are used in traditional farming and animal husbandry”.
The company cites a study by the American Environmental Science & Technology Journal to back claims of environmental and sustainability benefits of 3D printing chicken nuggets. According to the study, the technology could lead to a 25 fold decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and reduce land use from meat farming by 100 times.