Considering the amount of time that scientists have spent lately engineering human tissue in the lab, it’s not surprising to hear that restaurant chains want to get in on the action to replace the expense of raising animals for meat. And while you may be trying to imagine how 3D printed meat would be displayed on a KFC menu board, the “powers at be” at KFC are still busy at the drawing board—collaborating with 3D Bioprinting Solutions.
A variety of different companies have been interested in redefining meat, but often with a plant-based concept. 3D printing enthusiasts, technology buffs, and curious consumers may be interested in finding out more about the techniques and the materials, but still balk at becoming anything close to a vegetarian (or god forbid, a vegan!).
3D printing actual meat has historically been more challenging—along with the overall concept of any type of tissue engineering. The KFC announcement could be more gimmick than true intent, but for now they seem to be exploring the benefits of more environmentally friendly production, better nutrition, and the possibility of eliminating chicken farms (and all the associated flak from activists—as well as consumers who are just generally disgusted).
The process of creating chicken in a lab, dubbed “craft meat,” could mean reducing emissions exponentially as well as freeing up large tracts of land currently required to raise animals.
“The production of cell meat products is the next step in the development of our concept of the restaurant of the future,” explained Raisa Polyakova, KFC CEO in Russia.
Only time will tell whether there is a true market for bioprinted chicken, with success in the lab waiting to be seen, as well as popularity with the Russian fast-food palate. Polyakova is confident that they may be able to pioneer new technology that can be shared with the rest of the world, perhaps transforming menus everywhere one day. Savings on the bottom line could play an enormous role too—not only allowing for chains like KFC to save substantially in production, but also passing that down to consumers who are tired of over-paying for sandwiches, burgers, and most items available in contemporary drive-thrus.
“Technologies based on 3D bioprinting, which were initially widely recognized in medicine, today are gaining more and more popularity in the field of food production, such as, for example, animal meat. The rapid development of such technologies in the future will make meat products printed on a 3D bioprinter more affordable,” said Yousef Hesuani, co-founder and managing partner of 3D Bioprinting Solutions.
[Source / Images: popmech]
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