3D printed foods: Whaaaaat?

In our globally technologised world, where most aspects of human life are dominated & defined by machines, the internet, and social media, food has remained relatively untouched by the world of tech. So far. But that is about to change as we, in the very near future, may be eating 3D printed food.

3D printing and food. How would that work?

First of all, 3D printing is big business. The Financial Times reported that 3D printing culture is, or will be, larger than the internet.

It’s an exciting industry, and the latest phenomenon - and perhaps the one with the most direct and yet untested human interaction- is the possibility of cooking in 3D shapes via a machine. Yes indeed, that means printing your own food at home in a shape of your imagination.

The 3D cooking and baking technique is already being used by some expert chefs. An early adopter of the 3D food-printer is Dinara Kasko, an Ukranian pastry chef and Instagram star, who bakes exclusively via 3D printing machines. And the result is, aesthetically at least, astounding.

An architecture graduate, Kasko decided that the appearance of her pastries mattered just as much as the taste, and realised early on that technology might just add a level of delicacy and precision to the design which no human touch could. Her cakes look amazing and perfect. But what about the taste? Can a machine really recreate a deliciously succulent cupcake? Or a wholesome, greasy pizza? The answer is YES.

Lynette Kucsma, founder of Natural Machines (manufacturer of the food printing machine Foodini) said in an article that printing food actually expands the taste pallet. The process works by injecting a prepared food paste into the machine, then extracting the paste at a constant rate to form attractive layers, all controlled via computer software. So the ingredients are all fresh and then come out in any shape you program. This is really enhancing the experience of consuming food.

3D food printing has, like many new technologies, its origins in Space. In 2016, NASA launched the Advanced Food Program in order to feed a group of astronauts over a long period of time. The Chef3D was invented and established, in cooperation with BeeHex, and the astronauts were able to print their own delicious 3D oven pizza. In space.

If this sounds a bit absurd, check out this article in The Atlantic in which Sandra Forstner, project manager at Biozoon, explains that printed consumables "taste like normal food. It is made from fresh ingredients, so the taste doesn't change." It possibly becomes even better.

Research shows the numerous health benefits of 3D printed foods. Lynette Kucsma explains that her Foodini machine has for example helped encourage her kids to eat green foods such as spinach by making them attractive shapes, like small dinosaurs.

In a culture focused on health and a rapidly increasing gluten and dairy-free population, such benefits are important. 3D food printing allows you to customise meals, cater to dietary requirements and even monitor calorie intake.

Food printing techniques are now also being used in hospitals to moderate consistency for patients unable to chew properly or to seamlessly integrate medications into the foods. This is a huge win for the care sector.

The good news is that 3D printing does not belong to the far away realm of the technologically-able chefs only. Actually, it is apparently quite easy-ish to do it at home. There are a number of 3D systems out there - ChefJet, Natural Machines’ Foodini and BeeHex’s 3DChef, for example. All these machines today can make a wide array of dishes and in the most intricate of forms. They can make food look like edible art. The possibilities are almost unlimited.

So maybe 3D printing our food will be fun and will make everything look so much more pleasing.

Just a quick look at Dinara’s and 3DChef’s Instagram pages proves the point!



www.FT.com. June 14,2020