German statesman Otto von Bismarck is credited with saying, "If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made." Now, we can add chicken nuggets to the list.
Yum! Brands' (NYSE:YUM) chicken chain, KFC, announced last week it would be developing 3D-printed chicken nuggets using bioprinting technology as part of its "restaurant of the future" initiative.
Tastes like chicken
While many customers might not want that in their restaurant today, let alone tomorrow, KFC sees this "meat of the future" as part of "a healthy lifestyle and nutrition" initiative because it uses environmentally friendly processes that don't involve the slaughter of live chickens.
That's because the nugget is created from lab-grown meat using chicken cells and plant material that, when rolled in KFC's breading and spices, reproduce the taste and texture of chicken meat you expect when ordering nuggets.
KFC is working with Russia's 3D Bioprinting Solutions to develop the lab-grown, bioprinted nuggets, which it says have several advantages over the real thing: They contain the same microelements as the original, but eliminate harmful additives that occur in the animal husbandry industry. It also has fewer negative environmental impacts, cuts energy usage by more than half, reduces greenhouse gases 25-fold, and uses 100 times less land than chicken farming.
While consumers may be salivating at the chance to sink their teeth into this culinary treat, they may have to wait a while yet. KFC says a final product won't be ready until the fall, and then it will be first tested in Moscow.
There could be a market for this, though. While many initially recoiled when Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) introduced its plant-based burger that bled even though it contained no meat, today the beef alternative company is an $8 billion industry giant.