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6 November 2018

COMMENT: Food technology delves into the realm of 3D printing



Although 3D printing can be traced back to 1986, it has only recently become a piece of technology available to the general public - or those that can afford it. Although the fact that you can 3D print most of the parts of a new 3D printer generally helps a lot with cost. What can easily be called a technological phenomenon has been implemented in industries like jewellery, construction, toys and electronic appliances. Considering its growth, it was only a matter of time before it was introduced into the most essential aspect of human life: food.



Source: Pixabay

According to a global forecast released by Research and Markets, the 3D food printing industry is predicted to grow by nearly 55% and reach a value of $425 million by the year 2025. The industry is still in a very developmental stage but continues to be researched and tested, working towards the point of mainstream use. The motives behind this venture rely on the concept that the 3D printing of food can solve several global problems surrounding the market. Firstly, 3D printing allows for customised ingredients in each product, therefore making it useful for specific dietary requirements. This method is also both time and cost efficient, which are two characteristics always welcome in the food industry. Lastly, the 3D printing of food could potentially solve enormous issues in countries that have no resources with which to feed their people and need access to a more convenient method of food production.

A variety of food printing devices and machines have already been released and are being used in the culinary industry to aid the ease of production. Models like the ChefJet, Choc Edge and Foodini are all being integrated into kitchens around the world, bringing simple applications of 3D food printing tech to consumers. Chefs who have been testing these devices have even admitted that, while making a dish in the traditional way requires skill and experience, 3D printers eliminate a lot of the limits that usually exist. This could potentially allow for signature dishes from one country to become accessible at the same level of quality in other, which is currently a rarity unless you have inside info on the best local spots. For example, Italian food is very popular the world over, from Ireland to Japan, as evidenced by the sheer number of restaurants available. But 3D printing can help bring lesser known cuisines to new audiences or make already popular world food more accessible. Essentially, the world of food would become open to every possibility and bring consumers an even wider range of choices than already available using 3D food printing.


Source: Pxhere

Beyond the evolving practical and health benefits of this method of producing food, 3D printing also gives the opportunity for a new level of creativity and experimentation. Food can be made into any shape, size or texture you like, along with your personal touch on the ingredients. The beauty of this technology is that, as with normal 3D printers, it is not restricted to professional purchase and use.
Anyone can own a 3D food printer (at a price, of course) and begin their own food experiment. Whether you want a bagel-shaped item that encompasses all the flavours of your favourite antipasti or are looking to design toys made from chocolate, there are now many previously unavailable options thanks to this tech.

As for the future, there is no doubt that 3D printing is set to revolutionise every aspect of the food industry as we know it. 

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