“A chicken in every pot!” pledged a famous campaign slogan. Poultry has long been one of the world’s most popular proteins. Livers, necks, feet—people eat nearly every part of a hen. Now one designer-inventor wants to add feathers to the pot as well.
Sorowut Kittibanthorn is an inventor and design student from Thailand. He studies at Central Saint Martins Art School in London. He hopes to change what people view as trash.
He’s taking aim at a “fowl” form of waste: chicken feathers. He says more than two million tons of feathers are thrown away in Europe alone. He believes up to 30% more get tossed in Asia.
High in protein and bursting with nutritious amino acids, feathers could be the next big food fad. But no one’s noshing them . . . yet. That’s because the human body can’t process the prickly plumes. Yet chicken feathers are made of keratin, the same protein God placed in human hair and nails.
Kittibanthorn extracts protein from discarded chicken feathers. He then uses a process called “acid hydrolysis” to turn the keratin into a powdered edible food additive. With liquid, the powder can be shaped into patties or nuggets.
“I’m transforming chicken feathers into [a] lean protein source and edible food for human[s] that is low fat too,” the Thai inventor says.
His current project is called “A Lighter Delicacy.” It involves turning feathers into fake meats that mimic chicken (really!) and steak. Taste testers call Kittibanthorn’s fine dining “meats” delicious.
Food blogger Cholrapee Asvichit tasted the “steak” meat made from feathers. “I feel like the texture, the fatty, the juicy, and everything is really giving me [the] feeling that I’m really eating the real meat,” he says. “Like, the real red meat.”
Asvichit can even imagine the reconstituted feather food being served in fine restaurants.
But Kittibanthorn isn’t counting his chicken feathers before they’re plucked. He says the feathers-to-food project is still in the early stages. There will be more research and development ahead. But he has worthy goals: helping to feed the hungry and reducing excess waste at the same time.
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. — Ezekiel 16:49