KFC developing lab-grown chicken nuggets
Last year, we heard how KFC was introducing a plant-based chicken substitute on its menu. Now, the company is going a step further, by looking into bioprinted meat made from lab-grown chicken cells.
Also known as cultured meat or in vitro meat, lab-grown meat has been around in experimental forms for several years now. In a nutshell, it's made by starting with muscle cells obtained from an actual cow, pig, chicken or whatnot, then getting those cells to reproduce in a laboratory setting.
The idea is that with a little outside help, those cells will form into edible meat that looks and tastes just like its natural counterpart, but that doesn't involve the killing of animals, the use of growth hormones, or the environmental impact of farming. Challenges do remain, though, in terms of developing a product that's affordable and easy to produce, and that has a texture like that of regular meat.
That said, KFC claims that Moscow-based firm 3D Bioprinting Solutions is developing a product that should replicate both the taste and texture of real chicken. A representative from the latter company tells us that the process will indeed involve growing chicken cells in a lab.
Those cells will be combined with "plant material," then formed into chicken nuggets via proprietary additive bioprinting technology. KFC will be supplying the spices and breading that are used in its traditional nuggets. It is hoped that a final product will be ready for taste-testing by this autumn (Northern Hemisphere).
"Crafted meat products are the next step in the development of our 'restaurant of the future' concept," says Raisa Polyakova, General Manager of KFC Russia. "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."