Food Printing – The Emerging Trend

3D printing is now aged about 20 years starting in the 1980s. It is spreading to a wide range of industrial production. 3D printing is relatively a novelty for manufacturing technology. The trend is rising because of its ease of customization, waste control, and speedy production. Construction, medical and hi-tech industries are among the top beneficiaries. The industries plan to convert to 3D printing. The food industry is the latest to explore the possibilities. It may sound fiction, but it is a fact. A revolution is in the offing to reframe our ways of cooking and consuming our food. 

How Printer Cooks

Food Printing is nothing much different than industrial printing. You use pastes and food particles to fill the printer instead of industrial raw material as plastic and other filaments. The options will appear on the printer panel, similar to a microwave oven. The printer processes the food to the perfection of commands. The output is the food cooked to a choice of shape, temper, and taste. Like other industrial 3D printer markets, food printers are available in varied styles and functionalities. 

3D Food printers do not cook the food but shape and design it. Food is usually composed of ready-for-consumption edible ingredients. Cooking starts in another oven or grill after the shape and design take place in a 3D printer. The PancakeBot is, however, an exception. The machine only makes pancakes by extruding the batter directly onto a hotplate. Someone still has to flip it. 

Fiction Becomes Reality

The industry is at a nascent stage, having limitations in addressing some chunks and parts of the meal. The Machines are available from personal desktop models to professional cooking. There is a wide variety of food printing machines available, ranging from desktop to professional-grade. At present 3D food printers do not support heat cooking. The current generation is like complex & high-tech kitchen gadgets that will surely evolve into the full-range cooking craze in the coming days. 

3D printing so far is a novel idea that is maturing into a real-world utility. It is fast evolving into a regular cooking phenomenon that paves the way for business ventures. Food Ink is an example of a 3D-printing food startup that offers exclusive 3D-printed food and an ambiance in California. After serving 3D-printed food, the restaurant has added 3D-printed furniture as well. Another outlet is Sugar Labs, where the husband-and-wife team cooks desserts and sweats on their 3D printer. 

 The Trend Turns the Table

3D-printed food is an exciting trend. Despite its limitations, the tendency storms the baking segment. The advanced generation of Gastropubs is excitedly applying 3D printing to create novelty of ingredients in their all-new automated cooking. Chefs try their hands to introduce different styles and presentations of unique platters and taste-rich meals. Food printing is equally beneficial for cooking at home with options of material mix and attractive meal shapes and designs.

It is a blessing for the moms exhausted with children to train them to develop healthy eating habits. They can excite them with flavors and shaping of the meals to attract the kids to eat. The story is yet starting. The trend is in the making. It still has to spread. The food industries are cautiously evaluating the industrial use of food printing. NASA is the first to develop a methodology for sustainable food for space exploration. It has already initiated a startup called BeeHex that develops a 3D-printed pizza.

Institutional Cooking

The future holds promise for the nascent technology because of being highly customizable. 3D-printed food has a vast potential for flavor fun for those who desire to treat taste buds differently. The health industry could be another big beneficiary by providing specialized diets to patients with specific needs. Generally, 3D food printing offers a healthier and safer option for fresh food printing than the conventional processed food supply. 

It is also a workable option for institutional cooking other than in the health industry. The U.S. Army is interested in the initiative. Because of its strength of high customization, it has the potential for personalization of users’ nutrition and fitness needs. 3D food printer can connect to the database to evaluate each person’s requirements and print the food to match his specific health, fitness, and flavor needs. The AI can guide the machine to manage everyone’s needs as never before. It can work miracles for large-scale cooking where taking care of individual requirements is otherwise not manageable. 

Global Appeal

It is too early to imagine how technology affects global food and cooking habits. We can, however, safely guess that the revolution will change the eating habits of the masses everywhere. It will be a replica of the globalization of pizza, burgers, KFC, and soft drinks. 

Alternatively, it can address the challenge of world hunger. The ever-rising size of the population needs out-of-box solutions for cooking, nutrition, safety, and energy-saving methodology of food preparation. 3D printers provide answers to food consumption, supply, and processing challenges. A new range of food materials can become part of human taste through innovation of taste transformation and mass production. 

Will the Trend Sweep?

3D printing of food can meet a variety of needs of an individual consumer. The options are endless regarding flavor, shape, style, and design delivery of the dishes and the nutrition requirements. The companies have an edge in developing systems to meet a direct-to-consumer dynamic forecasting analysis. The tech hype of 3D food printing will take the business of innovative companies to an unprecedented height.

The industry is in its making, where breaking is not an option. It is bound to create a vibration. A change in the food industry and the eating habits of the masses is on the horizon. Days are not too far away when the kitchen will not be a need in the home. A bedside printer will serve the printed food at the silky touch of a finger. Gird up the loin to welcome the astonishment that already knocks at the door. 

Urza Omar
  • Urza Omar
  • The writer has a proven track as a mentor, motivational trainer, blogger, and social activist. She is the founder of a blog intended for avid readers.