3D printers are quite exciting devices that aid in the creation of three-dimensional objects. The printers build objects by depositing printing medium in various layers. Instead of making use of ink as a medium, most of the consumer level printers use melted plastic that gets solidified soon after it is released from printing nozzle.
Nowadays, several other printing media are available, including a new one, the powdered or the liquid food material.
Sugar, liquid chocolate as well as pureed food are nowadays used to create new food items that come with complex but interesting designs and shapes. In several cases, producing an item of food through a 3D printer is easier than creating them through hand.
3D Food-Printing Fast Facts
As it is the case with all other 3D printing aspects and applications, 3D printing will occupy a prime position in the way people interact with food in the near future. The supermarkets are already in the process of testing the customised cakes and the restaurants offering printed desserts. Some even claim that all the houses will have 3D printers in just 2 years.
One aspect is absolutely certain here; this rapidly developing market has a huge potential. However, research is necessary for changing this hype into reality.
Current Advantages of Edible Additive Manufacturing
At this point, 3D printed food is more of a novelty rather than a game changer. The restaurant chains and the packaged food giants are unlikely to convert the production lines to printing things that the customers can eat as well as purchase anytime soon.
Additive manufacturing making use of edible materials allow the food makers explore customisation of mass produced products.
According to a research, the present benefits of edible additive manufacturing include product customisation, product differentiation as well as direct customer relation. There are several indications that this will lead to better evolutionary capacities.
- Creation of unique formula foods that suit dietary needs
- Simplified distribution to hard to reach locations
- Customised medical and nutritional supplements
The 3D food printers work in a similar way as the regular 3D printers. As you can guess, the medium here is not melted plastic but a food material.
You are probably wondering why should we make foods in different shapes using 3D printers when we can easily make some of them using our hand? This is especially true if you consider the restricted abilities the current food printers come with or the long time that is essential to print some of these foods?
There are several advantages of producing a food using a printer. These advantages should acquire more prominence with the printing technology improving and the speed of printing enhancing.
Here are some of the possible benefits of the 3D printers discussed.
Possible to Personalise with Requisite Nutrition Level
As 3D printers follow digital instruction while printing food, you can print a food, containing the right percentage of carbohydrates, fats and proteins depending on the age, gender and the lifestyle of the concerned individual.
Interesting Designs and Decorations
You can decide on the appearance of the food yourself. Since you are instructing the 3D printer to print a food for you, you can instruct it in case you want your pizza in a different shape. It may come in an unusual but an attractive setup.
This will be chiefly helpful for children who are least interested in having foods. The unique and interesting shapes are bound to interest them.
Easy Food Preparation
3D printing makes it easier to prepare the processed foods as compared to the traditional methods. However, this is somewhat case sensitive. If the print cartridges need to be frequently refilled or the ingredient parts and the container are to be cleaned by hand, this may take some time.
3D food printing faces a few obstacles. Speed is one of the prime concerns. This 3d technology is complex as well as expensive. Printing in food materials is moreover harder as compared to print using melted plastic. They are not yet creating great tasting foods either. With the first experiments on its way, we can hope that 3D food printing will soon overcome the obstacles and will take up a prominent position in the future food industry.