Over the years, agriculture has come an extremely long way. We create and produce an astronomical amount of food, more than ever. As the human population continues to grow, our agricultural methods are becoming less sustainable as the numbers grow larger. In order for us to keep up with our ever-expanding population, we need a new method of food production to keep up.
This is where 3D printers come in.
3D printers, like agriculture, have continued to evolve over time. We are always discovering more ways to be more efficient and sustainable. Thanks to Charles Hull, the man who invented the 3D printer, we have been able to produce some pretty jaw-dropping items. Being able to not only print with plastics 3d printers can also print with just about any material, making the sky the limit.
Some printers make medical prototypes, some even create automobile prototypes with amazing accuracy. All these can be done with one small computer file. It’s pretty astounding really. We are continuing to see more and more progress with 3d printing technology and that progress has lead to some handy breakthroughs like the first fully functioning 3d heart.
As we said, the sky really is the limit. There really is nothing that we cannot print and food is no different. Recent and new innovative ideas have made it possible to simply 3d print food. Not only can you 3d print food, but industries that are already taking advantage of this believe that 3d printers could improve the nutritional value of meals. As well as being able to print healthy and nutritious meals, 3d printers allow for some intricate edible sculptures as well.
A Great Investment for Kitchens and Restaurants
So many commercial kitchens and bakeries are already using 3d printers for food production to save time and energy. Many businesses are taking advantage of 3d food printers to print the more intricate and complex things like edible decorations. One business called Food Ink has made the most out of 3d printers and have managed to construct a completely 3d printed restaurant. Everything there is 3d printed from the food to the tables and chairs.
The market potential for 3d food printers is massive and growing. One company called XYZPrinting revealed a new 3d food printer called the XYZ Food Printer and it is capable of printing ready to bake items such as cookies, cakes, pizzas and scones.
3d Printed Food Maybe More Nutritional
3d printers can do more than print beautifully aesthetically pleasing food. They produce foods that are of a higher nutritional value than ‘real’ food. In the future, 3d printers will be able to make processed and unhealthy foods a little more wholesome by filling the food with nutrients instead of drowning it in preservatives.
Being able to print food will soon allow people to customize nutrients and vitamins in their food to ensure that they are meeting their nutritional requirements.
Challenges Faced When 3D Printing Food
Despite this major breakthrough and possible revolution for the food industry, it comes with its challenges. At the time being, before anything edible is to come out of the nozzle of the 3d printer, most ingredients must be converted into some sort of a paste. Printing food is a lot more complex than printing plastic.
Another challenge faced by those who venture into the world of 3d food printing is that most of the printers today are only able to use dry-shelf ingredients. This is because most proteins and dairy products have a high spoilage risk.
As exciting as printable food sounds, not everybody believes they should be used for everything food related. 3d food printers may be better suited for a fast-paced takeaway shop or own home instead of a restaurant. In saying that though, when microwaves first burst on the scene, no one was interested and now up to 90% of people have one on their home.
Only time will tell whether or not 3d food printers will become the next best thing.