3D printing of food
We have recently invested in a 3D printer to investigate the potential for, and the limitations of, 3D printing when applied to food.
The 3D printer will be used to assess:
- the printability of foods
- the creation of complex designs
- the potential for personalised nutrition
- the impact on food texture
Interest in 3D printing has increased in recent years and the technology is now being applied to the food sector. Fused deposition modelling can print any paste-like food material that sets (e.g. chocolate, dough, batter and food purees). The process works by using software to create 3D shapes and printing ‘slices’ of the shapes, one after another, to build up the final 3D product.
3D printing may reduce process development and NPD time. It could also reduce food waste by printing on demand, and by utilising imperfect perishable food that would otherwise be wasted.