environment, sustainability

Will food 3D printers spell the end of grocery shopping?

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Source: Natural Machines

I might have missed the memo on how the 3D printing of food has started to evolve.

Someone I spoke to this week mentioned that the 3D printing of food could help solve world hunger in impoverished countries. Imagine how we would be able to feed large populations an appropriate nutrient with 3D printable food that is transported in bulk, with no spoilage, very little prospect for waste and designed with cultural and religious needs in consideration. Or if communities that no longer had access to arable land and water but needed food independence, had 3D printing stations that were solar powered to create food with any added nutrients to feed themselves.

Companies like Nestle have started research into customised nutritional meals for individuals that are 3D printed. While we might be years away from a commercially available solution, I love the thought of how we could potentially create meals right at our home, from a small 3D printer with only having to reorder a customised nutrition program instead of visiting a supermarket. If we were entertaining, the ability to order an allergen or diet specific meal for vegans, nut allergies etc. for our guests. This would have alleviated the panic attack I experienced cooking an allergen specific dinner for a guest this week and left me with more time for a glass of wine. The 3D printing of food could spell the end of grocery shopping lists, supermarket checkouts and any food waste. Sounds like a win/win for me all around. 3D food printing could be the answer to failed marriages and keeping harmony in families.

A lot has been said about 3D printing and how it supports a circular economy – not having to source and transport materials over long distances, eliminating waste, minimising the supply chain and reducing the carbon footprint from production. If we could apply the same system in food, it may solve the challenges we face in feeding populations in the future.

Here are some links to my favourite 3D printed food projects:

Pizza

Cake

Fruit

Burger

If we could commercially 3D print food now, what would you like for dinner tonight?

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