Are 3D Printed Chicken Nuggets Coming to a KFC Near You?
In the Spring of 2019, Burger King introduced its plant-based burger called the Impossible Whopper. Then it was announced last Fall that McDonald's had started testing its Beyond Meat burger in Canadian stores called the P.L.T. (get it?).
Not to be left behind in this 'to-eat-meat-or-not-to-eat-meat' world, KFC teamed up with a company called 3D Bioprinting Solutions to develop a meatless chicken nugget for their restaurant chains.
“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....Our experiment in testing 3D bioprinting technology to create chicken products can also help address several looming global problems. We are glad to contribute to its development and are working to make it available to thousands of people in Russia and, if possible, around the world" - Raisa Polyakova, General Manager of KFC Russia & CIS.
With more and more people leaving animal products behind and incorporating a plant-based diet, this is good news for them. Or is it? The difference between the meatless burger and meatless chicken nugget is that the burgers are 100% vegetable-based. The laboratory created chicken nuggets will still use animal cells. That could be a deal-breaker.
But for many people, this is more about changing how we grow our food. It's been known for quite some time that animals often deal with cruel conditions before they reach finally reach the dinner table. This technology is no doubt seen as a step in the right direction in the treatment of animals for many people.
"Biomeat has exactly the same microelements as the original product, while excluding various additives that are used in traditional farming and animal husbandry, creating a cleaner final product," - KFC press release.
When we called around to KFC stores in central Minnesota, nobody had heard of it yet. When asked what they thought of the possibility of 3D printed chicken nuggets, one KFC manager said, "It's something different. People are always looking for something different".
I have yet to try a plant-based burger or any kind of food product that is meant to be a replacement for meat. I'm sure someday I'll give it a shot just to satisfy my curiosity. According to Burger King, ever the employees can't tell the difference.
“People on my team who know the Whopper inside and out, they try it, and they struggle to differentiate which one is which” - Fernando Machado / Burger King’s chief marketing officer.
This meatless trend continues to grow, but just how far is still anyone's guess.