KFC will 3D-print the chicken nuggets of the future

The fried chicken chain is developing a system that will make it possible to print chicken meat starting from animal cells thanks to a technology developed by a Russian startup.

Fast-food chain KFC is working on a new type of chicken meat that can be 3D-printed from animal cells. The project is a shared effort with a bioprinting startup from Moscow, 3D Bioprinting Solutions, which has developed a method of additive 3D-printing to stratify animal cells and plant material and form it into edible and meat-like blobs. The process can create nuggets or other types of food that can be then cooked in the same way as the original. According to the startup, the final result will be indistinguishable from the real-chicken nugget, reproducing both the taste (thanks to the additional ingredients and flavoring supplied by KFC) and the texture of traditional chicken nuggets.

KFC, in a press release, said that the lab-grown meat will be at the center of their vision for the restaurant of the future and that the first batch of synthetic nuggets is expected to be tested in Moscow in the fall. The advantage of 3D printing chicken meat is twofold: it’s a much more ecological and healthy solution compared to traditionally sourced meat, coming from mass farming facilities; it’s easier to source and streamline for KFC once the process to make it is established properly. On top of that, the novelty of the product could be leveraged by marketing, catering to a growing demographic of health-conscious millennials.

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