False meat or meat alternatives have found themselves in the popular trend in recent years as people are bending towards cruelty-free food. A Thai man has developed a way of preparing ‘meat’ from feathers of chicken that can not only prevent feather waste but also provide for the protein intake.
Sorawut Kittibanthorn thought about the method while studying in London as he was thinking of ways to recycle waste. According to a report by news agency Reuters, Sorawut saw that about 2.3 million tons of feathers are being discarded in Europe every year. So if these were utilised to process and prepare faux meat, then it would be a very sustainable option.
After having finished his Masters of Material Futures in England, Sorawut has returned to Thailand and managed to make a certain kind of meat using chicken feathers. The researcher collects the feathers and then grinds their nutrient-rich components to a powder state. It is then converted into a “lean, protein-rich source of edible food”.
“Chicken feathers contain protein and if we are able to serve this protein to others in the world, the demand from everyone.. will help reduce waste,” Sorawut told the agency. According to him, the potential to handle feather waste in the Asian countries would be much higher if we go by the general numbers of meat consumption in the continent. Sorawut put the approximate of exploiting feather waste at 30 per cent more than Europe.
While at present he is looking for funding to continue his research on the topic and he has made sure that the product is far from completion, there are people who have already tested the ‘meat’. Food blogger Cholrapee Asvinvichit tasted a steak prototype made using Sorawut’s method and only had good things to say.
They said the texture of the finished product was “very complex and advanced”. It was something one would not generally imagine as the concept of chicken feathers turning into a lavish dish was not familiar to most. After having their share of steak served with gravy, mashed potatoes and a salad, Cholrapee said that they could imagine the dish being served to them in a branded restaurant or any fine dining setting.
Hathairat Rimkeeree, a food sciences professor at Kasetsart University, also saw potential in the feather meat to become a viable source of alternative meat in the future. Although this method is not vegan or vegetarian, Sorawut aims to start approaching the restaurants that serve no-cruelty products.
Video of Sorawut making chicken nuggets using feathers of chicken that were dumped has been doing the rounds.