KFC will test lab-grown chicken nuggets made with a 3D bioprinter this fall in Russia

An order of KFC's original chicken tenders.David Silverman/Getty Images
  • KFC announced on July 16 it would test chicken nuggets made with 3D bioprinting technology in Russia this fall.
  • The chain partnered with 3D Bioprinting Solutions to create a chicken nugget that will mimic the taste and appearance of its original nuggets at a fraction of the environmental cost.
  • The release will be the first time a major chain will sell a lab-grown meat product and may serve as a proof-of-concept for the much-hyped cell-based meat industry.

KFC will test chicken nuggets made with 3D bioprinting technology in Moscow, Russia, this fall, the chain announced in a July 16 press release.

The chicken chain has partnered with 3D Bioprinting Solutions to create a chicken nugget made in a lab with chicken and plant cells using bioprinting. Bioprinting, which uses 3D-printing techniques to combine biological material, is used in medicine to create tissue and even organs.

The 3D-printed chicken nuggets will closely mimic the taste and appearance of KFC's original chicken nuggets, according to the press release. KFC expects the production of 3D-printed nuggets to be more environmentally friendly than the production process of its traditional chicken nuggets. The fall release will mark the first debut of a lab-grown chicken nugget at a global fast-food chain like KFC.Advertisement

"Crafted meat products are the next step in the development of our 'restaurant of the future' concept. 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, the CEO of KFC Russia and Commonwealth Independent States said in the press release.

Yusef Khesuani, cofounder and managing partner at 3D Bioprinting Solutions, said he hoped the KFC partnership would help accelerate the rise of cell-based meats and make them more widely accessible.

Although it's not currently widely used in food, lab-grown meat is a heavily researched product that many investors hope will be on the market soon. Memphis Meats, a cell-based meat startup, raised $161 million in its latest funding round, and major investors include CPT Capital, a venture fund that has also backed Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.
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Also on July 16, KFC announced it would sell Beyond Fried Chicken at over 50 California restaurants for a limited time after successful tests in Nashville, Atlanta, and Charlotte.

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