KFC chicken nuggets might soon be lab-produced by a Russian 3D bioprinting firm

As we get closer to having “future food” become the new normal, KFC is trying to create the world’s first laboratory-produced chicken nuggets as part of their “restaurant of the future” concept. The restaurant chain will work with Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions to eventually “print” chicken meat using chicken cells and plant material.

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

According to KFC, bioprinted nuggets would be more environmentally friendly to produce than standard chicken meat. They cited a study that shows the benefits of growing meat from cells, including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption compared to traditional farming methods.

The chain says the bioprinted nuggets will be available for final testing in Moscow this fall. But they didn’t explain how the process in Russia differs from other 3D bioprinting efforts.

Although there are examples of ‘meat’ products being 3D-printed that don’t contain any meat, the bioprinting process KFC describes uses animal material—meaning that it won’t be vegetarian. KFC, however, is launching a plant-based version of its fried chicken—made by Beyond Meat—in about 50 locations in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.

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Dzamira Dzafri