If you're old enough, you may remember when microwaves were first introduced or you may have been brought up with one when it had already become a common kitchen appliance. It was the year 1967 when the microwave was promoted as a new way to reheat leftovers. Food manufacturers had not yet produced food made specifically for microwaves, and had to move quickly to include microwave instructions on their packages. The microwave became such an instant hit, the industry scrambled to keep up. Even though it has been around a long time, many advances have been made. What was once a new product became an ideal sidekick to the oven and stove-top ways of cooking.
Forty-eight years later, we are preparing to have the capability to eat food that has been produced by a 3D printer. The future of 3D printing used for making food is becoming less futuristic and closer to becoming a reality as a variety of 3D technology companies nail down the first string of food printers. If you look at the evolution of the microwave, it's clear that we can only imagine how far this new technology will take us.
Currently there are hundreds of 3D food printers that are being tested, improved and being prepared to go on the market for consumers and commercial kitchens. So, as you can imagine, it won't be long before we are visiting 3D food restaurants and dining on epicurean delights in minutes!
See what you think about some of the new concepts and fare that you can expect to find in the not-so-distant future. Are you planning to purchase a 3D printer for your kitchen?
Pizza that is delivered in 30-minutes is always nice but homemade pizza, crust and all will take half the time and uniquely made to order via your home 3D printer! According to the developer of Natural Machines' Foodini, "One of our goals is to streamline some of cooking's more rote activities - forming dough into a dozen breadsticks, or filling and forming individual ravioli - to encourage more people to eat healthy foods." According to an article in qz.com, the pre-loaded food capsules will be made with "fresh, real" ingredients. So chances are your 3D food will be not only be faster to prepare, it will be much healthier than pizzas of today.
7 Corn Chips
Corn chips can now be made thanks to Cornell Creative Machines Lab that, in 2014, introduced lovely curly corn chips flower. Just like baked or fried corn chips, they are made with masa flour and look and taste great. This 3D printer is also capable of making hamburger patties along with your personal choice of how many layers of mustard and ketchup. Not many Americans would turn down a new device that could produce one of their favorite meals, hamburgers and corn chips. We would assume salsa might be one of the next food items to be produced by this printer? Most consumers will want the most versatile and wide food range that a 3D printer can offer. So it will be interesting to see which company comes up with standardizing a 3D printer so that cartridges and nozzles can be used to make everything.
6 Wedding Cake Toppers
Yes, you can now order your wedding cake toppers that are made from your personal photographs. Captured Dimensions is a company that offers full color, 3D printed full-length replicas of the bride and groom. Each of them can even take their photos separately, wearing their wedding dress and tux, to avoid breaking the old tradition of the groom not seeing the wedding dress in advance. Order one as the cake topper or you could even order a quantity, should you want to put them on each table at the reception or designed as wedding favors for all of your guests. The replicas are created via 3D Scanning, 3D Modeling and 3D Printing and take a couple of weeks because of the pre-3D printing process which involves having photos prepared for the first step - the 3D photo scanner.
Who would have guessed that The Hershey Company would get into the 3D act when they partnered with 3D Systems to create their 3D Chocolate Candy Printer. It is being called the CocoJet, which can create sophisticated shapes and sizes in dark, milk or white chocolate. The beauty of this printer is that it is made for consumers who would like to make their own chocolates at home. It comes with pre-programmed designs or the user can create their own custom designs. It will be interesting to see how a chocolate making printer effects sales of sweets around the world? It's no surprise that companies like Hershey will sell their own chocolate cartridges and machines to maintain their market share well into the future.
Love your favorites fruits all year round and tired of having to wait? Well, the 3D printer - called the Dovetailed - plans to change all of that. Spherification is the technique that has been progressing steadily over the past few years and is a molecular gastronomy process that changes the structure of liquids. So, for example, if raspberries were the desired fruit, a raspberry-flavored liquid (or puree) would be mixed with sodium alginate to make tiny spheres of the fruit. The outside skin is created and holds the shape intact once the printer drops the fruit-juice flavored caviar-shaped units.
We think this process will continue to be improved, so all fruit lovers out there, stay tuned.
3 Pastry Shell
This small pastry was developed by a food and concept designer - Chloe Rutzerveld. She is calling it edible growth. This particular pastry idea will include inside spores that will turn into little mushrooms and greens after five days. Talk about a healthy snack. Here's what the designer had to say on her website, "My aim was to use this new food technology in a useful way to create natural, healthy, sustainable and nutrient rich rood that cannot be made with traditional production methods and contributes to our and the environments well being." Not only does this pastry look unique, it actually looks edible if you like mushrooms. This is 3D food within a 3D food that must be made in advance, which has a built-in advantage for catering parties and large groups.
Natural Foods' Foodini is the 3D printer that just may become mainstream first. It reminds us of several futuristic movies and cartoons, like the Jetsons, in that the food-filled capsules will turn into dinner pretty rapidly. It can handle savory and sweet foods and from simple to intricate. It is also said to be capable of making nutritious food, such as veggie burgers, as well as meat.
Founders Lynette Kucsma and Emilio Sepulveda were running a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 to fund the future of this technological marvel. Additionally, they have been getting approached by people all over the world who are asking to purchase the machines. Kucsma stated in her presentation at the "Inside 3D Printing" conference in 2014, "The way technology is evolving these days and how you can incorporate 3D printing in your other appliances, I could see 3D printing being in ovens, or 3D printing embedded into microwaves."
1 NASA-Funded 3D Food Printer
Yes, it is still controversial, but sounding more and more viable. NASA has invested funds to further the advancement of 3D printers for use during deep space missions. Developing efficient and effective life support systems will continue to be a priority for the agency well before they are needed. The further NASA ventures into space, the bigger the need there will be to be capable of making food on demand.
According to an article in businessinsider.com, the company that is handling the research for NASA, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, also has their eye on having this printer be put to use for ending world hunger. The protein would come from the use of insects, such as granulated mealworms. Other ingredients might be algae, duckweed, grass, lupine seeds and insects. Much testing is still to be conducted before all of the variables and perfect combinations will be recommended for consumption.
Although this vision has been met with much skepticism, think about that possible future where our planet's 12 billion people are able to feed themselves.