Fresh printed food

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“Can you print me out a few noodles real quick, please?” We probably won’t be hearing this sentence in the near future. Consumers may be ready for a revolution in the food industry, but this novelty is viewed with a grain of salt. Price is frankly another factor in this delayed acceptance of food printers. Groceries from the supermarket are simply still cheaper.

False start or precision landing?

The American space agency NASA has begun to develop these devices. But it soon had to phase out Project “Food printer”. Reduced budgets for space travel research threw a wrench into the works. Since then many companies have jumped on to this bandwagon and are putting together their own versions of these printers. The best known example is the 3D pizza printer of an American company. This unusual printer took on the complete preparation – from dough to baking – in a multistage process. The end product was an edible pizza. Unfortunately, we don’t know if the participants liked the pizza or how it tasted.

In 2014 a Spanish start-up in cooperation with a German electronics giant attempted to bring a fully developed 3D printer to market. But the huge sales figures never came. How the food; i.e. 3D printer will be received by the market, however, is uncertain. But such 3D printers have other qualities and benefits that have nothing to do with groceries. They have caught on, for example, in the field of medicine – custom-tailored prostheses and implants have provided one or the other patients with a better quality of life. In science as well, 3D printers are already an important tool for significantly easing the work of professors and students on a wide variety of projects at universities. The Chair for Wind Energy at the University of Stuttgart, for instance, has economically and reliably printed out rotor blades, housing and hub for an experimental wind power plant. It could thus be said that 3D printers are sooner putting wind into the sails of research, science and medicine, than into those of the food industry.

 

We will still have to take the trip to a fast-food or Italian restaurant, and the kids will continue to linger near the stove and not near a food Printer.

Photo Credits – CREATIVE COMMONS (CC BY 2.0) – Creative Tools VIA FLICKR

 

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