After launching fried chicken made from plant meat, KFC has made some new tricks in its “Restaurant of the Future” plan.Recently, KFC announced a cooperation with a Russian 3D bio printing company to jointly develop 3D printed chicken. This Moscow-based 3D bio printing company, named “3D Bio printing Solutions”, is a subsidiary of the American biotechnology company VIVAX BIO.
The company is currently developing the use of chicken cells and plant materials with 3D bio printing technology to make its products reproduce the taste and texture of chicken. And KFC will provide it with all the ingredients, such as bread crumbs and spices. The goal of the project is to make chicken nuggets that are similar in taste and appearance to the original KFC products.
If it goes well, its test product will be launched at the end of 2020. If the price is not too expensive, it seems you can “make friends”.3D printed meat is not necessarily 3D bio printed meat,In fact, 3D printing meat is nothing new.
Since 2006, the students of Cornell University’s Computational Synthesis Laboratory used food-grade printers to print out foods such as chocolate and cookie dough. 3D printing technology has begun to “play its strength” in the food field.
However, not many companies use this technology to produce artificial meat. Until 2013, Modern Meadow began to use 3D printing technology to produce artificial meat. Unfortunately, due to poor efficiency, the company later switched to artificial leather.
So 3D printed meat fell into a state where no one cares. In 2018, the concept of plant meat suddenly became a big hit, which also brought 3D printed meat to the fire. This year, the two companies Novameat and Redefine Meat made a splash.
Among them, Israel’s Redefine Meat company said that its 3D printing meat system includes a 3D printer, a 3D meat modeling system, and a plant-based synthetic meat formula. While the taste is close to real meat, it can also achieve low-cost large-scale Mass production.
Even though the cost is gradually decreasing, it is still expensive now. The price of 3D printed meat per kilogram is about 4$ and ordinary people feel a little distressed to eat. However, Redefine Meat believes that as the technology matures, 3D printed meat will eventually be cheaper than traditional meat.
The technical principle of 3D printing meat sounds simple. Just put the edible “ink” and raw materials into the 3D printer, and you can “sit back and enjoy the results.” In fact, edible ink is very complicated, and two factions have emerged.
According to the “35 buckets” report, edible inks are currently divided into plant-based inks and bio-based inks. The finished product of the former is plant meat and the latter is cultivated meat.
The raw materials of plant-based inks mainly include peas, soybeans, wheat, potatoes, seaweed extracts and other vegetable protein-bound oils, transglutaminase (TGase), gelatin and other additives while bio-inks are made from living animal stem cells. The cultured allogeneic satellite cells are composed of culture medium.
Companies like Novameat and Redefine Meat in the 2018 fire are both plant-based ink players, while 3D Bio printing Solutions, which collaborated with KFC, are supporters of the bio-ink team.
We can generally distinguish it as follows: companies that claim to use 3D printing technology use plant-based ink; companies that claim to use 3D bio printing technology use bio-ink.
KFC’s cooperative project is to take out stem cells from living chickens and isolate allogeneic satellite cells from them, and give them a nutrient-rich culture medium under a specific environment so that the cells can replicate and reproduce happily. The researchers then mixed these cells with the matrix and nutrients to make bio-ink.
KFC said that 3D bio printing technology is also more ethical, and the production process will not cause any harm to animals. KFC also emphasized that it will continue to work to continuously improve the welfare of animals in the farm and the entire supply chain (including breeding, handling, transportation and processing).
This is not only about improving animal welfare, but also about the future of mankind.After all, the chief culprit of global warming is animal husbandry. According to survey data from the Royal Institute of International Affairs, animal husbandry accounts for nearly 15% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions, which exceeds the total emissions of all cars, trucks, airplanes, trains and ships worldwide.
Among all livestock and poultry, cattle are the most polluting. Its habitual action-hiccup, will release a lot of methane. Therefore, beef and milk products are the livestock products with the highest emission intensity, and the carbon emissions associated with their production account for 65% of the total greenhouse gas emissions from all livestock.
As the global population continues to grow, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that the global demand for meat in 2050 will increase by 70% over the current period. Where there is demand, there is a market. If animal husbandry continues to develop, the rate of global warming may exceed our imagination.
A study by the American Journal of Environmental Science and Technology stated that the technology of cultivating meat from cells has the least negative impact on the environment. Compared with traditional farm meat production, this technology can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 times and land use can be reduced by 100 times.
In addition, 3D bio printing technology can also reduce the abuse of antibiotics in various livestock and poultry. No matter from which point of view, 3D bio printing technology can be called the “light of humanity”.
In the past year or two, many catering giants have launched synthetic meat products. For example, the KFC vegetable protein chicken nuggets mentioned above, the “artificial meat burger” launched by Burger King, and the “star food” lunch launched by Starbucks, all use synthetic meat made from plants.
In addition to the high price, this kind of artificial meat also has a common taste and lacks the close taste of real meat.
And 3D bio-printed meat tastes better than synthetic meat with vegetable protein. Since the texture of real meat can be simulated when printing, it is more chewy and tastes more real.
However, the commercialization of 3D bio-printed meat may not be so fast. Because 3D printing and tissue engineering are combined at the same time, the technically complex 3D bio printing meat requires a lot of capital investment and a long development time.
KFC and 3D Bio printing Solutions said that the first batch of test products will be launched at the end of 2020. I don’t know if it will be a “pigeon”. But it is foreseeable that the development of the epidemic and the shutdown of the meat industry will also make the market re-examine 3D printed meat. This may directly lead to a boom in the commercialization of 3D printed meat in the next 2–3 years.