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Printing KFC nuggets?

They will remain crispy but it is debatable whether they can be called “chicken” nuggets in the future once they will be printed by a machine and not be connected to a “chicken”. Image credit: KFC

KFC, Kentucky Fried Chicken for the few of you that may not recognise the brand, has announced a partnership with 3D Bioprinting Solutions, a Russian company, to create their chicken nuggets using an industrial 3D bioprinter able to produce mass quantity of chicken meat… without using a single chicken!

The “raw material” is created using a few chicken cells and plants cells that are cultivated “in vitro” (not on Petri dishes but in huge vats). This raw material is fed to the 3D bioprinter that will print chicken nuggets meat. They will be further processed as today’s chucks of chicken meat, breaded and spiced ready to be fried.

The artificial chicken nuggets taste the same and have the same texture, at least this is the asserted goal.

The advantage of using artificial chicken meat is clear is you happen to be a chicken πŸ˜‰ Β It is also quite clear once you start considering the impact of some 24 billion chickens in the world (curious on how many chickens are there in your Country? Click here), Notice that a chicken life, in an industrial meat production process, is very short, around 2 to 3 months, so the number of chickens in a year gets close to 100 billion.

According to KFC the artificial production of chicken meat would cut energy requirements in half, decrease greenhouse gas emissions 25 folds and uses 100 times less farm land.

The first artificial chicken nuggets should make their way into KFCs locations in Moscow this fall. Based on results from these market tests the production may scale up and hit other countries. Personally, I am all in favour of crafting meat and spare animals lives,

A lot is going on in terms of industrial research for the future of food and we can expect some radical changes in the next decade.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.