The potential to produce more chicken nuggets for every bird slaughtered is what meat producers will be excited about. It is questionable whether that will make economic sense. "Anything has a home," says Jayson Lusk, an agricultural economist at Purdue University. Chicken bone can be exported for use in pet food or feed. The EU relaxed its rules on the use of chicken by-products in animal feed in August of 2021. Chicken by-products are not allowed to be fed to cows or back to chickens.
Koskinen will have to convince meat manufacturers that putting chicken bones into human food is more profitable than putting them in animal feed. Human food is more expensive than animal food. If more economic value is created by turning bones into human-edible food, then that will be done.
The small matter of convincing people to eat it is all that matters. Fast food brands don't want to be associated with a food product that might put people off dinner. In 2003 McDonald's stopped making its nuggets with a process called mechanically separated meat, in which bones are ground up with chicken meat and then removed through a sieve. Any meat made through this process must be labeled. Koskinen thinks his product will not be put in the same category as mechanically separated meat. Even if their products have to be labeled similar to mechanically separated meat, this might not be a death knell.
Harry Dee, a poultry analyst at the research firm IBISWorld, says that demand for cheap chicken is likely to keep rising. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations projects that poultry output will grow by 17 percent over the next decade, higher than any other source of meat. It's not clear how much of that will be driven by chicken nuggets. Ground chicken products make up a small portion of the meat market. It's not going to change how the industry produces meat, even if filling out ground chicken with bone makes things a little more efficient. It isn't clear how much of that chicken bone will have an impact on the environment since it wasn't being wasted in the first place.
The interest within the meat industry has exceeded our expectations, and Koskinen is confident that the first products containing his blend of bone and chicken meat will reach consumers in 2023. At the moment, SuperGround is only making small batches of its chicken at a time, but its production facility has the ability to make more than 400,000 pounds of the mass every year. It needs to find people to eat it.