KFC hopes to develop the first lab-made chicken nuggets

3D bioprinted nuggets could be more eco-friendly and ethical.

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A person walks past a KFC outlet in Melbourne's central business district on July 15, 2020. - Australians under lockdown for the second time are struggling with fresh virus restrictions, with police saying on July 15 they had dished out hundreds of fines including to people playing Pokemon Go and eating KFC. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images

The quest for lab-grown meat is extending to a staple of the fast food scene. The Verge reports KFC has teamed up with Moscow’s 3D Bioprinting Solutions with the goal of producing the world’s first lab-made chicken nuggets. The Russian firm is developing an additive printing technique using chicken cells and plant material that, ideally, recreates the “taste and texture” of natural chicken while keeping animal involvement to a minimum. KFC, meanwhile, will provide bread, spices and other ingredients to match the restaurant’s “signature” flavor.

KFC hopes to have a final nugget design ready for testing in Moscow by fall 2020.

As elsewhere, the lab-produced meat promises numerous advantages. It’s more environmentally friendly, as it doesn’t require nearly as much resources — KFC points to a study suggesting it requires 100 times less farm land, and cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 25 times. They’re also more ethical by avoiding harm to animals, and healthier due to the lack of chemicals.

There are also pragmatic uses for bioprinted meat. As with KFC’s plant-based ‘chicken,’ this lets the chain cater to wider audiences. It also provides a more stable supply of food that isn’t tied to the ups and downs of chicken farms. KFC might deal with fewer shortages, so you’d be more likely to get what you came for.

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