5 Foods 3D Printers Can Make That May Change The Future Of Mealtime!

I’ll admit it, when it comes to 3D printers, I’m a troglodyte.  All I know about 3D printers is well, nothing.  However, when I read this:

“Journey to the frontier of food and you’ll find a 3-D printer, spewing out chocolate. While traditional cooking isn’t going anywhere, you can count on 3-D-printed foods eventually finding a place in our world.” (source)

I was definitely interested in finding out more! Since 3D printing creates an object by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is done, how this could be translated over into food seemed nothing short of magical!  Here’s 5 types of 3D printed food I found that could revolutionize the way we think about food in the future;

Fancy candies.

3d1A company named 3D Systems released two 3D printers able to print actual sweets. There’s also a company in London who took it a step further, and can:

“…3D print toppings onto cookies, cakes and more food products. Those products will include, inter alia, chocolate, sugar paste and marzipan. Users can make use of an SD card, which is filled with ready-to-print designs or they can create their own toppings on a computer.”

My Christmas cookies just got kicked up a notch!

Easy to chew food for rest homes.

If you have a relative in a rest home, or have visited one recently, you may have noticed that the food they serve is unappetizing, to say the least.  Many3d4 seniors have difficulty with chewing, digesting, and sometimes even swallowing solid food, so most of it is served pureed.  Many seniors want nothing to do with, say, a pureed slice of ham, so they may refuse to eat, which leads to serious health issues.  3D printing aims to change all that because it can reconstitute pureed carrots to look like regular carrots, but have them be much softer and easier to bite into.

Food for Astronauts!

NASA has funded research to look into the feasibility of using a 3D printer to make food on deep space missions. Since astronauts now have to subsist on individually prepackaged foods,  NASA is concerned that they may not be eating enough nutrients to stay healthy.  Hey, if I had to eat the same meal out of a plastic bag for weeks on end, I’d lose my appetite too!

Environmentally friendly food.

“…at Cornell University in New York, PhD candidate Jeffrey Lipton has developed a 3D food printer that lays down liquid versions of foods, dot by dot and layer by layer, to build up edible meals.” Part of this includes using “’food inks’ made from hydrocolloids – substances that form gels with water.” that can print anything from a hamburger to a celery stick.  The long range implications are that individual will be able to program just how much they want, eliminating food waste.  There’s also the chance that fully synthetic meats may start to be produced, lessening the impact that raising animals on large parcels of land takes on the environment.  We’re getting closer to the Jetsons, but still no hoverboard.3d2

Food for ending hunger.

There are some researchers who worry that soon, the Earth will have too many people, and not enough food for all of them.  Since 3D printers that make food rely on the basic nutrients distilled down to a powdered, shelf stable form, saying that in the future; “12 billion people feed themselves customized, nutritionally-appropriate meals synthesized one layer at a time, from cartridges of powder and oils they buy at the corner grocery store.” doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

I did a lot of reading about how 3D printers can potentially change how we eat in the future, and I’m amazed! Far from being another flash in the pan invention (whatever happened to the Google Glass?) the 3D printer looks like it’s here to stay in a big way.

What do you think about 3D printed foods? Would you be willing to try an appetizer printed up fresh? Let us know in the comments below!

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