KFC is set to begin offering customers the world’s first lab-made chicken nuggets as part of the restaurant of the future concept. The chicken restaurant chain is working with the Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions to create a bioprinting technology that will produce chicken meat using a 3D bioprinter using chicken cells and plant material – with little or no animal involvement.
The idea of such a “meat of the future” came from the partners as a response to the growing popularity of a healthy lifestyle and, as a result, nutrition, the annual increase in demand for alternative substitutes for traditional meat and the need to develop more environmentally friendly methods of food production. In taste, texture and appearance, the final product will be as close as possible to regular KFC nuggets, but at the same time it will be more environmentally friendly. The partners plan to receive a finished product for testing in the fall of 2020 in Moscow.
KFC will provide the Russian firm with all the necessary ingredients – breading and spices – to achieve the signature flavor of the final product. At the moment, there are no analogues on the market for three-dimensional bioprinting technology that allows you to create complex products based on animal cells.
Of course, it’s worth noting that the bioprinting process described by KFC uses animal-based materials, so any nuggets produced will not be vegetarian. At the same time, KFC offers vegetarian options in some establishments. Last year, it became the first fast food chain in the United States to test the plant-based chicken product Beyond Meat, which it plans to roll out at many of its locations this summer.
KFC claims that bio-printing will be more environmentally friendly in production than conventional chicken meat, according to a study conducted by the American scientific journal Environmental Science and Technology. This study reports on the benefits of cage-based meat growing – in the long term, this method should be half energy-intensive, can lead to a 25-fold reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and use 100 times less land than traditional farming methods.
Also, the bioprinting method has other advantages. Such meat contains the same trace elements as ordinary meat, but during its production, it is excluded that various additives that are allowed in traditional farming and animal husbandry are included in the final product. Cellular meat is more ethical: it is produced without causing harm to animals.
“Technologies based on 3D– bioprinting, initially widely recognized in medicine, today is gaining more and more popularity in the field of food production, such as, for example, animal meat, – said the co-founder and managing partner of 3D Bioprinting Solutions Yusef Khesuani. – The rapid development of such technologies in the future will make it possible to make meat products printed on 3D-bioprinter, more affordable, and we hope that created as a result of our cooperation with KFC the technology will help accelerate time to market for such products. “
3D bioprinting is still a slow and expensive process, so it is not worth counting on the fact that cellular meat nuggets will appear in KFC chains in the near future, and at first they will not be cheap. However, if the first samples of such products are received in Moscow in the fall, perhaps an event will be held at which people will be invited to taste them, and we will get a more complete picture of this innovation.
However, Raisa Polyakova, CEO of KFC in Russia and the CIS, is very optimistic: “We are in KFC we closely follow trends and innovations, so we are constantly introducing advanced technologies in the restaurants of the chain, responding to the demands of the time. The production of caged meat products is the next step in the development of our “restaurant of the future” concept. 3D technology development“Bioprinting for the creation of chicken products can help solve several important problems facing humanity at once, so we will work to make it accessible to thousands of people in Russia and, possibly, even around the world.”
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