American fast-food chain KFC has entered into a partnership with the Russian startup 3D Bioprinting Solutions to develop an innovative 3D bioprinting technology to create the world’s first laboratory-produced chicken nuggets. The project also aims to craft the “meat of the future” as a response to the growing popularity of a healthy lifestyle and the need to develop greener eating methods.
KFC said it was managing to recreate the texture and tastes similar to conventional chicken meat almost without involving animals in the process. The process, however, involves using chicken cells in conjunction with plant material to print nuggets layer by layer. Thus, the company does not position the product as a vegetarian, but only “without animal sacrifice”.
KFC will provide the Moscow company with all the necessary ingredients, such as breading and spices, to achieve the characteristic flavor of its products. “They will be as close as possible in both taste and appearance to the original KFC product while being more environmentally friendly to produce than ordinary meat,” the company said.
As already mentioned, the ultimate goal is to reduce the impact on the environment in terms of resources consumed by intensive farming. The technology also allows energy consumption to be cut by more than half, greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced 25 fold and 100 times less land to be used than traditional farm-based meat production.
“3D bioprinting technologies, initially widely recognized in medicine, are nowadays gaining popularity in producing foods such as meat. 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 Yusef Khesuani, co-founder and Managing Partner of 3D Bioprinting Solutions.
The 3D bio-printing of the nuggets will be developed in Moscow, and after a test phase, which should end around autumn 2020, it will be usable by KFC. If it were to meet these deadlines, this technology would be the first in the world capable of obtaining such complex products from animal cells.
It is not known when they will actually be available to the public to try them, but it will still be interesting to watch the development of this technology.