KFC plans to test 3D-printed chicken nuggets in 2020

KFC has partnered with Russian research laboratory 3D Bioprinting Solutions to create the world’s first cell-based chicken nuggets.

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radub85 | BigStockPhoto.com
radub85 | BigStockPhoto.com

KFC has partnered with Russian research laboratory 3D Bioprinting Solutions to create the world’s first cell-based chicken nuggets.

Testing of the 3D-printed nuggets is scheduled to begin this fall in Moscow.

“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. Crafted meat products are the next step in the development of our ‘restaurant of the future’ concept,” Raisa Polyakova, General Manager of KFC Russia & CIS, said in a statement.

This isn’t the first time KFC has experimented with meat alternatives. The quick service restaurant chain is also testing plant-based nuggets made by Beyond Meat in California after successful tests in Nashville, Atlanta and Charlotte.

What is bioprinting?

3D Bioprinting Solutions will use additive bioprinting technology to create the lab-grown poultry meat. Bioprinting, a form of 3D printing, can be used to produce tissue, bone or even whole organs.

The process uses a precision printer that deposits cells according to detailed computer designs and models. Over the course of several hours, it results in an organic object made up of many thin layers. The layers are held together by a collagen scaffolding.

"3D-bioprinting technologies, initially widely recognized in medicine, are nowadays gaining popularity in producing foods such as meat,” said Yusef Khesuani, co-founder and Managing Partner of 3D Bioprinting Solutions.

“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.”

KFC will supply 3D Bioprinting Solutions with the 11 herbs and spices to achieve the brand’s signature taste.

Good Food Institute Executive Director Bruce Friedrich called the announcement one of the most significant moments for alternative proteins in 2020, stating that “KFC is synonymous with chicken, and so it is exciting to see the chain rethinking what chicken means. As one of the most iconic restaurant brands in the world, when KFC talks, the worldwide meat industry listens.”

Champions of lab-grown meat say the product is better for the environment and animal welfare.

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