While everyone has heard of chicken nuggets, not everyone has heard of a 3D printer. Even if you have heard of this printer, you likely haven’t heard of 3D nuggets. This is because KFC is only now creating these nuggets, and testing hasn’t even yet begun.
It’s news to most people that KFC is manufacturing these 3D nuggets. You are probably already wondering how this could even be possible, and we will get to that in a moment. They will be entirely edible, however, and the hope is that they taste just like the original recipe.
Before explaining more about the nuggets, however, it’s important to understand what a 3D printer is and how it works. Then you’ll be able to better understand what KFC is hoping to create.
What Is a 3D Printer and How Does it Work?
A 3D printer uses a digital file to make 3-dimensional solid objects. It is also sometimes referred to as additive manufacturing because additive processes are used. Whereas most printers print a flat image onto paper, these printers create physical 3D objects.
The additive processes are used to create an object by making layers of material until the object is completed. By using these processes, you will be able to create complex shapes with less material.
You will first need a 3D model, which you can create yourself or download. If you choose to create it yourself, you will need a 3D scanner, app, hepatic device, code, or 3D modeling software. To download a model, however, you can browse the internet for the one that you need.
Once you have a 3D model, you will need to prepare it for 3D printing by slicing it. You won’t physically slice this, as slicing is a term used to describe splitting the virtual model up. To slice it, you will have to use computer software to divide the model into many horizontal layers.
Once the slicing is complete, your model will be ready for 3D printing. 3D printing uses many forms of technology and material, depending on the exact need. Almost all industries are implementing it, so it’s only expected that it would be used with food, as well.
For an idea of what these printers are capable of, some of the uses include:
- End-use parts
- Dental products
- Architectural models
- Fossil reconstruction
- Artifact replication
- Forensic pathology evidence reconstruction
- Movie props
- Hip replacement
- Automotive and airplane parts
- Human tissue replacement
- Human organ replicas
How KFC Intends to Test Manufacturing of 3D Printer Chicken Nuggets
With many other businesses researching environmentally friendly alternatives to meat, it’s no surprise that KFC is on the ball, too. While other companies are manufacturing plant-based alternatives, no other company is attempting 3D Printer nuggets. This means that KFC is the first fast-food chain to ever attempt nuggets made in a laboratory.
For this creation, KFC has teamed up with 3D Bioprinting Solutions. They hope to create nuggets by combining chicken and plant cells in a lab using a technique called bioprinting. The famous seasoning and breading will still be used, however, and only the meat component will change.
The technique of bioprinting uses 3D-printing and is also used in medicine. When used in medicine, it is used to create tissues and organs. In this same way, scientists are going to try and recreate a chicken nugget.
It is rumored that these nuggets will be very similar to the look and taste of KFC’s original nugget recipe. If this is the case, KFC may just change the entire food industry with its creation.
Keep in mind that these nuggets will still contain chicken, so they are not vegetarian. KFC does have some stores that have plant-based products for vegetarians, but these nuggets will not be among those products.
To create the nuggets, KFC will provide 3D Bioprinting Solutions with the ingredients to make a 3D nugget. Then, the manufactured nugget will be created and tested.
KFC wants to create a product that will be used in the years to come. Since it is without question that a new product will be used soon, testing is essential. If KFC succeeds with these manufactured nuggets, this may be it.
When Will This Test Take Place?
KFC scientists hope to be ready for testing in the fall of 2020 and will first be done in Moscow, Russia. If it is successful in Russia, it will likely be implemented throughout the rest of the world, as well. The timeframe for all of this has not been determined or has yet to be released.
Why do They Feel This is Necessary?
While it may not be entirely necessary, scientists at KFC believe that manufactured nuggets are more environmentally friendly. They mean this in regard to the production process of the original recipe. It is believed that this method will be cleaner, less impactful on the environment, and it won’t harm animals.
This idea of manufacturing nuggets in this way was first thought up in response to other things, however. Since healthy lifestyles and nutrition are becoming popular, KFC thought it essential to create products that appeal to healthier lifestyles. With healthier lifestyles and the desire to be more environmentally friendly, this idea was created.
Researchers at the University of Oxford proved the environmental aspect to be true. They determined that manufacturing meat from cells can greatly reduce greenhouse gases in the environment. Plus, it will use 100 times less land than raising traditional meat would use.
Even if KFC is successful in manufacturing these 3D Printer chicken nuggets, there will be other factors to consider. One important consideration is whether customers will be comfortable eating nuggets made in a lab. Since customer satisfaction is the determining factor of business success, it will be the customers who make the ultimate decision.
If the nuggets pass the KFC researcher’s tests and earn customer approval, the fast-food industry will be changed forever. Other fast-food chains will likely implement the technique, and other food products will be reproduced.
With the benefits to the environment, this direction for fast-food may be the most controversial one yet. Until the test results are in, however, it is unknown if this product will be available anytime soon.