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Why Buy Or Cook Food, When It Can Be Printed?

Food and Beverages | Monday, August 24, 2020

Even if the Star Trek’s Replicator machine hasn’t been found, 3D-printing is on its way to make that happen as well. Not only can 3D-printing print medicines, but it can now print food as well.

FREMONT, CA: The prowess to create food from 3D printing is finally catching up. After successes in printing medical devices, machinery tools, and even the walls of homes with additive manufacturing technology, the 3D printing of food is up next. 

NASA has been researching methods to 3D print food since 2006, and after seven years, the advanced food program was developed. Master chefs and opulent restaurants have recently introduced technology into the broader market since technology has the capacities to support creative freedom. Chefs have utilized 3D printing to produce intricate and elaborate desserts and embellishments. The technology is not restricted to fancy cake art, but, poses endless possibilities if employed in the most optimal method. 

• The Many Faces Of 3D Printing: 

In an age where dietary requirements of the consumers are increasingly transforming, catering to product customization is a mammoth task that needs to be overcome for establishing a competitive spirit.  

Earlier, customization processes meant more scope for hand-made skills with below-average rates of production and increased prices. 3D printing can not only overcome these limitations, but also offer a myriad range of shapes, textures, and tastes to fulfill the consumers’ wishes.        

A personalized approach to nutrition can be enabled with additive manufacturing. With each day, more and more options are available for 3D printing to tackle problems like starvation, obesity, and eating disorders. 

Although predicting and relying on 3D printing to solve society’s horrific food issues is pointless. It certainly has displayed the potential to do so exist in new ways recently. Among one of many applications, it is shown that ingredients can be placed distinctly to alter its nutritional value and others such as salt or sugar can be placed outside the food product or reducing overall, making the dish healthier. 

By 3D printing a single chewable pod, that contains the necessary nutrition the human body needs, malnutrition can be effectively handled. With the exact quantities of nutrition supplements known from the customer’s dietary requirements, the customization can be taken to further. The 3D printing model manufactures a direct producer-to-consumer system. Hence, dynamic forecasting will transform into the most essential process for the manufacturers as it will determine a wider variety of offerings for its customers. As the increase in product diversity is identified, a whole new set of demands will also arise, affecting a revolution in packaging, logistics, and material procurement. 

• Tackle wastage of food :

Most supermarket shelves are stacked with extra stocks, and most of the times, the majority of it will go to waste. Fresh produce which is blemished or misshapen during transport or because of improper handling, but has excellent quality inside will also remain stagnant in the shelves. It is unlikely to get customers’ attention and is mostly resigned to waste before it is stacked onto shelves. Printing the necessary food will help cut down the wastage of food. 

In 3D printing, regardless of how the outsides look like, the food can be printed if the insides are converted to a printable paste. This approach not only allows the manufacturer to upcycle items that would be wasted otherwise and will also increase the margins with the sales of the product with minimal extra ingredients. For example, the bread crumb that have broken off or has been cut-off can be used for mass production of pre-packaged sandwiches. The leftover bread can be re-used to 3D print new loaves, to manufacture a newer item. 

• No-Meat Meat: 

The planet’s 30 percent of ice-free land is utilized for livestock farming. It contributes significantly to global warming and also issues of food contamination and antibiotic resistance. These are significant issues that arise from livestock farming, not to forget a conscience developing against the beliefs of animal slaughter. 

One way to stop these issues is to curb the consumption of meat. Nevertheless, with the population continuing to soar, the FAO has predicted that the demands for meat will only increase and that too by 70 percent within 2050. But what if the animal meat is made redundant by then? 

There is evidence of successful printing of steak, utilizing a paste made of ingredients containing rice, peas, and seaweed. It was created with the use of different tissues using a method of Bioprinting to imitate the textures of the muscular tissue. 

Texture maintenance is the most critical feat in 3D printing of food products. The combined ability to tailor nutritional value replicates the precise texture of the meat products delivering one of the main drivers in a switch from carnivore to herbivore food. 

Even though researchers have toiled day and night to present an entirely adequate 3D-printed food, it is still not up to perfection. As the technology of 3D-printing develops, food manufacturers can use this method to assist in solving the country’s biggest challenges. 

Especially with tailored nutritional upcycled ingredients, and the possibility of a reduction in meat levels, 3D printing can be the industry’s method of handling critical environmental and social issues.

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