3D Printing

3D Printing Food Three-dimensional printing of food grade shapes, a 3D printed sugar based candy (brill3dculinarystudio.com)

3D Printing Food

For the inexperienced, 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process of creating three dimensional solid objects from a digital 3D model. Objects are usually created layer by layer. 3D printing is revolutionizing the 21st century production industries, from shoes, to airplane and car parts, to medical devices, and more.

Simplifying the definition, 3D printed food is nothing more than what Its name suggests, regular edible ingredients processed by means that they can be extruded through a nozzle onto a surface, the goal, to produce a meal on demand or with peculiar or complex shapes and geometries that are either impossible to reproduce manually or would take an extraordinary amount of time or resources.


Brill, Inc., has introduced a full-color, professional-grade culinary 3D printing system, powered by 3D Systems. (brill3dculinarystudio.com)


3D Printing Chocolate

The 3D printing industry has reached many food markets so it is no surprise that it made impact on the chocolate industry. Several big brands such as Hershey and Nestlé had been experimenting with 3D printed chocolate, 3D printing brings creativeness and innovation to the cacao based franchise, 3D models can be turned into an edible chocolate creation.


Hershey Kiss being printed by their CocoJet 3D printer. (www.3dsystems.com)


Most chocolate 3D printers work with the same principles of a regular FDM 3D printer. Instead of a filament, chocolate 3D printers use a syringe, which is loaded with molten chocolate and then it keeps the chocolate at temperature as it prints. The extruder head moves around and lays down the melted chocolate with the shape desired in layers. The chocolate eventually cools and becomes solid. The whole system needs to be compliant with food safety standards in order for the 3D printed figure to be edible.

Chocolate 3D printers haven been around for around 6 years, so the chocolate industry has yet to expand and learn what more could be done with 3D printers. Chocolate 3D printers aren’t suitable for mass production but it is perfect for gourmet, visually attractive food presentations, or just design new shapes. The main problem with chocolate 3D printers is the temperature, the chocolate has to be heated enough to melt and maintain melted in the syringe, at the same time it must be cool and dry enough to maintain its shape as it is laid into its final shape.


3D printing chocolate allow chefs make unique creations and reproduce them rapidly and affordably, no matter how intricate or specific the design (sculpteo.com)


3D Printing Meat

Meat alternatives are leaving a mark and some companies like Impossible Foods have already partnered with big franchises Like Burger King, plant-based meat went from something very few had heard of to something that now trends between vegans and meat eaters; this is a glimpse into a different future for meat. Total emissions from global livestock are around 7 Gigatonnes of Co2-equivalent per year, representing 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Promoters of meat alternatives say these meatless meats could help change and gradually help the climate crisis.

Redefine Meat is applying proprietary 3D printing technology, meat digital modeling, and advanced food formulations to produce animal-free meat with the appearance, texture and flavor of whole muscle meat (which they call Alt-Meat products).


The Israeli-based company conducted a largest-scale public blind-tasting. The food truck concept was named “There’s a new meat in town”. (redefinemeat.com)


Until recently, alternative meat has replicated ground beef or similar products that have a uniform consistency. 3D printing uniquely enables the production of precise geometries and patterns that can duplicate the muscle and fat structures found in cuts of meat. 3D printing also offers the flexibility to print different shapes, sizes, or combinations of fat and synthetic muscle without retooling or resetting the machines


NovaMeat have managed to reproduce a realistic fibrous fleshy meat alternative steak product. (novameat.com)


Another startup named NovaMeat creates realistic meat alternatives by 3D-printing plant-based proteins, one of the pioneers to simultaneously replicate both the texture and appearance of a cut of an animal’s muscle. Unlike burgers and meatballs, steak and other whole muscle cuts, such as chicken breast and pork chops, are difficult to imitate with only plant ingredients given their depth of texture.


NovaMeat employs protein from rice, peas and algae fibers, natural plant-based colorants, and some fats such as canola, olive and coconut oil in their meat paste formulation. (novameat.com)


It’s safe to consume 3D printed food as long as it has been prepared in an appropriate machine in a clean environment (as with any other kitchen). In addition to creating amazing-looking meals, there are other positives in 3D printing food such as the personalized meal and required daily diets (making food have the specific required nutritional values a person requires); with 3D printed meat we saw the potential global benefits to the environment, but another advantage to consumable 3D printed goods is the easy reproducibility of products, and the precision and time in which this can be produced. Only time will tell how things will work out for the 3D printed food industry but our hopes and expectations certainly aim high.

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