The Thai researcher wonders if hen feathers might fly on the menu

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© Reuters. The Thai inventor Sorawut Kittibanthorn presents dishes made from chicken feathers in a kitchen in Bangkok

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From Juarawee Kittisilpa

BANGKOK / NAKHON PATHOM, Thailand (Reuters) – When Sorawut Kittibanthorn was looking for new types of waste that could be recycled, the then London-based student was drawn to the millions of tons of chicken feathers that are thrown away every year.

Back in his native Thailand, the 30-year-old is looking for funding to continue his research on how best to convert the nutrient component found in feathers into a powder that can be converted into a lean, protein-rich edible source of food.

"Chicken feather contains protein, and if we can offer that protein to other people in the world, everyone's demand will … help reduce waste," Sorawut told Reuters.

Indeed, the potential seems enormous, as Sorawut estimates that around 2.3 million tons of feathers are dumped each year in Europe alone.

And given the generally higher consumption of poultry in Asia, he believes up to 30% more feather waste could be exploited in the region.

Sorawut, who was studying futures for a Masters of Material in London, said the idea had other research and development phases to go through.

But prototypes, including his take on chicken nuggets and a steak set, received positive reviews by some.

"They know that the texture is very complex and advanced. You can't imagine chicken feathers improvising into this type of dish," food blogger Cholrapee Asvinvichit said after sticking into a "steak" that Potatoes and a salad were served with sauce and puree. "I could really see myself being served this in a way. Michelin (PA 🙂 Stern (restaurant) or a fine culinary experience. "

Hathairat Rimkeeree, Professor of Food Science at Kasesart University, was also pleasantly surprised by the results.

"I think it has the potential to become an alternative food source in the future."

Vegetable substitutes for meat are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people are switching to vegan or vegetarian diets, as the health risks from eating meat, animal welfare and the environmental hazards of intensive animal husbandry increase.

While feather-based foods couldn't be classified as vegan or vegetarian, Sorawut believes they should be viewed as ethical food.

"I plan to go to the zero-waste restaurants first because even though these dishes are made from poultry waste, it's still a by-product of animals (which we normally consume)."

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