KFC’s Move to Russian 3D-Printed Chicken Nuggets Has Me Asking a Lot of Questions

Published: July 24, 2020

Sometimes I come across a headline that gets more confusing with every word. This week’s entry: “Fast food chain KFC partners with Russian bioprinting company to create 3D-printed chicken nuggets.”

I’m not here to question the viability or sustainability of 3D printing and I certainly understand it’s made some serious inroads in its ability and effectiveness since it was first introduced. There’s a chance some of the AV gear you install today was made on a 3D printer, in fact.

It’s gone well beyond the days in 2015 when we wrote about 3D-printed dog biscuits bearing the face of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, among others. I just wonder about the necessity of this transition from a lot of perspectives.

Here are some excerpts from a news story about this announcement:

KFC believes it will soon hold the recipe to the “meat of the future,” but it would be more like printing instructions.

The fast food chain has partnered with Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions to develop a way to print lab-grown materials to make chicken meat for its nuggets.

KFC says it has plans to use chicken cells and plant-based material, as well as provide the bioprinting firm with its breading and spices for the signature KFC taste.

KFC says its bioprinted nuggets will be available for final testing in Russia this fall. There’s no word on when the product might start to be sampled at U.S. locations.

My question is what was wrong with the Colonel’s longstanding recipe and 11 herbs and spices that makes a change like this necessary—and isn’t anyone at KFC corporate HQ even just a little worried about losing the secret recipe to Putin and his minions?

After all, the guy did steal New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl championship ring a few years ago after Kraft let him try it on during an encounter.

The bigger question for CI readers, though, is whether technology needs to be incorporated into every aspect of life just because it can be. This partnership between KFC and the Russians is aimed at sustainability, which is important, but is it truly necessary?

Aren’t there more important things scientists should be researching these days? Perhaps a cure for cancer should be higher on the priority list than 3D-printed chicken nuggets? Or how about a vaccine for the coronavirus maybe? I know others are working on it, but the more, the merrier.

Related: Infinite Electronics Produces and Donates 3D-Printed Reusable Face Shields

When I talk to AV manufacturers, one of the questions I always ask them about their new product announcements is whether the idea for it came from a customer or was generated internally.

I know it’s important for companies to anticipate—and even create—a need in the market for their products, but I think part of that is understanding what customers want.

3D Printing

I’m a KFC fan and someone who tries many of their twists on the classics. That includes a chicken sandwich between two glazed donuts and fried chicken as the shell of a taco in the company’s partnership with Taco Bell.

But you can include me out on 3D-printed chicken nuggets—and my guess is most people who are eating at KFC aren’t first and foremost focused on sustainability of themselves or the planet, so I just wonder about the need for a product that touts that as the primary benefit.

Colonel Sanders would probably be rolling over in his grave if that didn’t mean he’d get his trademark white suit dirty.

Posted in: Insights, News

Tagged with: 3D, 3D Printing

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