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Specific Uses of 3D Food Printing

In this article we showcase specific uses of 3D Food Printing to include: military, NASA, elderly people, confectionary market and edible growth
Elder couple eating breakfast together
© IMDEA

There a number of specific situations or people in which 3D printing technology presents an exciting innovation for the food sector.

These specific uses include:

  • NASA

NASA are interested in a food system that helps their individual astronaut’s meet their nutritional and personalized dietary needs for long space missions. 3D Food printing offers a system which can deliver macronutrients (carbohydrate, proteins and fats), food structure and texture; and inkjet printing to deliver micronutrients and sensory charactersitics (e.g. flavour and smell).

  • Military

The production of meals on demand in the battlefield that can be personalised and customized depending on indiviudal soldier’s nutrition and energy requirements not to mention allowing raw food material to have extended shelf lise is an exciting prospect offered by 3D food printing for the military.

  • People with Dysphagia

Dysphagia occurs when there is a problem with the neural control or the structures involved in any part of the swallowing process. It is a common problem in the elderly population; as well as people with physical or intellectual disability; cancers of the mouth or throat; and neurological conditions such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease. If inadequately addressed, dysphagia can affect nutrition, breathing and quality of life.

People with dysphagia are advised to eat texture-modified foods, which includes minced, moist and pureed foods; and avoid string, chewy, crumbly, crunchy and solid food. However, texture-modified foods can look unappealing, reducing people’s enjoyment appettite and consumption of food.

3D printed food could improve the sensory attractiveness and safety of texture-modified foods. Moreover, it also offers those with dysphagia to be involved in the design and creation of their 3D-printed food; and personalised nutritional meals based on their indiviudal age, physical condition, nutrition and energy requirements.

  • Confectionary Market

3D food printing has unlimited customisation potential allowing the design of new and innovative food products. This is an exciting area, particularly for the sweet market, as they can attract consumers with their innovative designs.

  • Edible Growth

Edible growth is an ongoing project by Eindhoven-based food designer Chloé Rutzerveld that blends food, gardening, and 3d printing. The concept involves a specially printed outer casing made from dough that contains “edible soil” and various seeds. Once printed, it takes a few days for the seeds and mushrooms to germinate after which they start to poke out of the small holes on top and is ready for consumption. Rutzerveld’s design is currently just a concept and would involve several years of research, namely around 3d printing technology and issues of food safety.

Check out Chloé’s TEDx talk on 3D food printing and how she believes the combination of technology, design and science can lead to healthy and sustainable 3D printed food that has the ability to reduce the ecological footprint of man on earth:

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

© IMDEA
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