Is 3D printing food a thing? Can a 3D printer print food? or Can you make 3D printed food? Is 3D printing food healthy? Is food printing possible?
I received a lot of questions when I talk about 3D printed foods.
Yes, I understand that the topic is very new to some. But, 3D printing applies to almost anything.
You can 3D print small simple things like tools and organizers to huge and complex items like cars, guns and even buildings.
I know some of you are wondering how 3D printing technology applies to the food industry. Well, I’m pleased to tell you 3D printing works for foods too.
But is it healthy? Are the outputs edible? How does 3D food printing work?
I know that you have a lot of questions about food 3D printers and 3D printed foods and I am here to answer them. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
|Best 3D Food Printers||Check Product||Prints||Volume (mm)||Price||Rating|
|Wiiboox Sweetin||Click Here To Buy||Pastes||110 x 110 x 75||$1,999||4.4/5|
|Zmorph VX||Click Here To Buy||Pastes||250 x 235 x 165||$4,599||4.5/5|
|Createbot||Click Here To Buy||Pastes||150 x 150 x 100||$2,349||4.2/5|
|Print2Taste Mycusini||Click Here To Buy||Chocolate||105 x 80 x 50||$440||4.0/5|
|byFlow Focus||Click Here To Buy||Thick pastes||208 x 228 x 150||$4,300||4.6/5|
|Print2Taste Procusini 5.0||Click Here To Buy||Pasta, Chocolate, Marzipan, Cassis, Fondant||250 x 150 x 100||$2,625||4.5/5|
|Choc Edge Choc Creator V2 Plus||Click Here To Buy||Chocolate||80 x 180 x 40||$3,450||4.3/5|
What Is 3D Food Printing Technology?
3D printing has almost invaded every aspect of our lives. It’s in every corner of our home, including the kitchen!
3D food printing is the process of manufacturing edible products using additive manufacturing technology. The process enables you to create three-dimensional dishes or meals.
It uses food-grade syringes to hold the printing material which is deposited through a food-grade nozzle layer by layer.
It is also called Food Layered Manufacturing (FLM) that allows you to create new shapes and designs that are inaccessible or very difficult to prepare by hands like designing cakes with openwork spatial solids or a variety of geometric figures with carved ornaments and logo.
The most advanced machines come with pre-loaded recipes. But they also allow the users to design their recipe on their computers, phones or IoT devices. 3D printing food is popular for customization. You can customize the shape, color, texture, flavor, and nutrition of the meal you are preparing.
Also, it allows you to personalize meals. Furthermore, it opens doors for unconventional food consumption.
For example, it makes processing nutritious plants and protein-rich insects possible. It produces healthy, nutritious and mouthwatering 3D printed foods that you won’t mind asking about the ingredients.
Plus, it’s very easy to share 3D printed recipes! Unlike cooking where you have to follow everything, with 3D food printing you’ll leave it to your machine! It is just as easy as transferring a digital file over the internet.
Just prepare the raw materials, printing settings and compatible equipment. After that, you can expect the same meal in your kitchen with less to no little effort.
However, although the food 3D printing process is great, there are also drawbacks. According to Choc Edge, a 3D printer manufacturer, a very simple six-layer design can take 7 minutes and 3D printing more detailed 3D models can take over 45 minutes, so just imagine how long you would need to wait to get your meals.
Also, there are a lot of things to consider like weight and heat. During the printing process, the layer needs sufficient strength to maintain its own weight as another layer is added without significant deformation and change of shape.
The heat from the laser, hot air, heating element or sprayed binder or solvent may be used for fusing and joining layers.
Lastly, although you are expecting a 3D printed food, that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t be doing anything. Sometimes, you still have to prepare the ingredients which may require pre-cooking or pre-processing to achieve the consistency required.
Which Foods Can Be 3D Printed?
Many foods can be 3D printed and among the easiest ones are desserts! Here are some of the 3D printed food that you will surely enjoy, per Aniwaa.
As mentioned, food 3D printers use paste-like ingredients and chocolate melts at the temperature of the human body and solidifies when it cools down.
So, you can easily make a customized chocolate dessert without altering its taste!
Choc Edge is designed to make all types of chocolate designs which is perfect if you love chocolates.
Sugar can take any form and color. It can be melted or used as powder making it a perfect material for food 3D printing. 3DSystems have created 3D machines that are designed to print sugar and candies. If you love sugar and sweets, then rejoice because it can be 3D printed!
Oreo joined SXSW 2014 festival and during the exhibit they allow customers to choose the color of their creams, resulting in colorful sweets with some opting for blue, green, orange, green, purple, pink and yellow creams. So, yes, 3D printing allows you to create outputs with unique shapes and beautiful colors.
Pancakes and Waffles
Since it can be customized, you can add your face or put your name on your pancakes. Get creative and just experiment, the most important thing is that — it tastes like the regular pancake! The same can be done for waffles.
Pizza is another all-time favorite in every party or event and you can order a box of 3D printed pizzas.
A pizza printer called Chef 3D had been created a few years back.
Only one person is needed to operate it to lay the dough, sauce and cheese for the 12-inch pizza in a minute before popping it in the oven, Business Insider reported.
Jordan French, the cofounder of BeeHex’s bost a.k.a Chef 3D said that the 3D printer was connected to a computer that tells it which dough, sauce and cheese to use.
Cakes are an all-time favorite no matter what the occasion is birthdays, anniversaries or weddings.
No matter what the event is, a cake will always be a treat! Using 3D machines can help you create a simple chocolate cake or customize one with intricate details, unique shapes. However, when designing cakes, you might need to still assemble them.
Food 3D printers can do more. The foods I mentioned above are only a few of the edible things that you can enjoy from food 3D printers.
Can 3D Printed Food Be Eaten?
3D printing has a lot of applications and food is the most delicious one!
I understand that it’s difficult to imagine especially because 3D printers use plastic filaments to 3D print, but that’s not always the case.
The additive manufacturing technology uses various materials copper, metal, wood, and more. 3D printing buildings use cement and construction materials to get it done.
It’s the same with food 3D printing, it uses edible ingredients and the byproduct is consumable! You can create edible food for real!
It is completely safe to eat 3D printed foods as long as they are prepared in an appropriate machine and a clean environment.
Is 3D Printed Food Safe?
Since 3D printed food is edible, the next step to consider is its safety. What does food safe mean?
Let’s start by defining this to weigh in if it is up to our standards.
First, the material should be safe for human consumption. Next, you should use food-grade materials that meet the requirements determined and will not create a food safety hazard.
The surfaces must be made of non-toxic materials and should withstand the environment of their intended use like exposure to cleaning compounds, sanitizing agents and cleaning procedures.
To ensure that the food is safe, you should look for FDA and EU approval. Here’s a checklist from the FDA Food Code that must be met.
• No migration of deleterious substances
• Does not impart colors, odors, or tastes
• Safe under normal use conditions
• Durable, corrosion-resistant, and nonabsorbent
• Sufficient in weight to withstand repeated washing
• Finished to have a smooth, easily cleanable surface without breaks and sharp internal angles
• Resistant to pitting, chipping, crazing, scratching, scoring, distortion, and decomposition
• Accessible to inspection
Does 3D Printed Food Taste Good?
Is 3D printed food good? I understand that it is difficult to think about eating food from a printer, but take it from me, a 3D printer can be a good machine in your kitchen.
Trust me, 3D printed food tastes like regular food. They do not taste plastic or weird. You can 3D print cake and it tastes just like one.
3D printed food tastes as great as self-made food. You can consider 3D printing as a new method of preparing food. You are not eating artificial food because the ingredients are fresh and natural.
In fact, there is already a restaurant that serves delicious 3D printed food, in particular sweets and desserts which the consumers love.
3D ByFlow, a family business founded in the Netherlands in 2015, is very popular in the 3D food printing market.
It enables professionals to create customized foods by using fresh ingredients and other ingredients that are otherwise would have been thrown away.
Is 3D Printed Food Healthy?
3D printed food offers a range of potential health benefits.
Food production using 3D printers is healthy and good for the environment because they can help convert alternative ingredients such as proteins from algae, beet leaves, or insects.
It also allows you to use plant based ingredients and more. Plus, it opens doors for food design and customization to cater to individual needs and preferences.
Personalized nutrition has been around for years and additive manufacturing technology just brought it mainstream. 3D printing food could potentially be the future of personalized nutrition.
As with other 3D printing applications, 3D printing food allows you to personalize meals by controlling the amount of nutrients, vitamins or calories per meal.
And 3D printing food allows for precision which is extremely important in hospitals or those whose diets are restricted.
If you are wondering if anyone eats 3D printed food, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” As mentioned, there are already restaurants that serve this stuff.
Food Ink from the United Kingdom is the world’s first 3D printing restaurant. It offers guests a one-of-a-kind gourmet experience with their 3D printed food.
Aside from the menu, the utensils and all other furniture in Food Ink are produced using additive manufacturing technology.
“We are a conceptual pop-up dinner series where fine cuisine meets art, philosophy and tomorrow’s technologies,” the restaurant’s website read.
The people behind Food Ink include architects, artists, chefs, designers, engineers, futurists, industrials, investors and technologists. The team is working together to deliver the “most exquisite interactive edible experience.”
How Does The 3D Food Printer Work?
At this point, you are probably asking yourself these questions — how does food printing work? how does a 3D printer work for food? or how is 3D printing used in food?
If you are familiar with 3D printers, food 3D printers work the same as a regular FDM 3D printer.
You can think of it this way — food 3D printers heat the edible ingredients before 3D printing them on the build plate layer by layer.
There are studies that binder jetting and SLS could also 3D print food using powdered ingredients which are then solidified by the 3D printer.
Check out the video below to get an overview of how 3D printers deliver an edible product.
What Is 3D Food Made Of?
I know that at this point, you are wondering, what materials are used in 3D food printing?
Again, 3D printing food uses the concept of traditional 3D printing, but unlike the usual printers that use plastic for materials, this one uses edible ingredients in paste-form and build the food layer by layer.
The most common ingredients for 3D printed foods are chocolate, pancake batter and cream.
Also, it allows for the use of unconventional ingredients to make tasty dishes like protein-rich insects or algae.
Is 3D Printing Food Cheaper?
Normally, 3D printers are a bit expensive. You will probably spend between $1,000 to $5,000 to get one.
But with the rising popularity of food 3D printers, its price has started to drop because more and more companies are designing their own food 3D printer boosting the competition in the market and lowering down the price to the customers’ advantage.
Although food 3D printers can be expensive, the whole process makes it easier and convenient for the chefs and bakers.
With less time spent in customizing the products, you can expect that 3D printed foods would be priced fairly.
Also, 3D printing food is the new trend in the food business which only confirms that it’s a practical solution in being innovative with your baking skills.
With more and more chefs and bakers adding food 3D printers in their kitchens, there is no doubt that it is worth it.
Also, it’s the best solution for mass personalization because it is faster, cleaner and more consistent.
It may not be that cheap at the moment, but it is getting there. In the long run, it would be easier to see why 3D printing food is a lot cheaper.
How Is 3D Printing Used In The Food Industry?
With the growing popularity of food 3D printing technology, you are surely wondering how has 3D printing affected the food industry. Or How is 3D printing being used in the food industry?
3D printing has proven to be an effective kitchen partner for chefs and bakers. Many of them have already owned one to boost their business. Pastry chefs are among the first ones who enjoyed the benefits of food 3D printers.
Dinaro Kasko is an internet-famous pastry chef who uses a food 3D printer for her sweets. She creates 3D printed molds to design the shapes of her cakes making them unique and a standout in every angle.
She programs her designs and printed them into silicon molds to sculpt her cakes. She loves geometric and it is evident in her outputs. Her molds are designed with 3D Max using the Ultimaker 3D printer.
Although Kasko has been known as a pastry chef, the artist has only switched careers. She is originally an architect by profession.
Apparently, 3D printers allow her to integrate her love for architecture with her passion for baking by delivering delicious and artistic cakes. You can check out the architect-turned-chef’s output below.
3D Cake Creator John Lankford also uses it for his business. But unlike Kasko who uses additive manufacturing technology to mold her cakes, he directly prints layers of cake using mouthwatering batter filament. Batter is one of the more affordable food filaments available.
Aside from pastry chefs, a food 3D printer has been used in restaurants. Australian restaurant D’Arenberg Cube is popular for its classic lemon meringue pie with a twist. The restaurant is the first in the country to utilize 3D printers in the kitchen.
Their tangy treat is the only 3D printed food on their menu because it is very time-consuming to create. It takes 24 hours to finish.
And everything in it comes from the 3D printer. The 3D printed food gained the restaurant a sheer amount of patronage.
Head chef at the Cube, Brendan Wessels, is positive that food 3D printers will eventually play a significant role in the restaurant business.
BeeHex, the creators of Chef 3D, the bot designed to bake a pizza in six minutes are also using it to sell pizzas. Customers can customize their favorite pizza because BeeHex’s system can take any jpg file and turn it into a pizza shape for the crust.
Customers can also customize the size, toppings, dough and location. BeeHex planned to widen their customers’ options by allowing them to choose for thicker crusts and larger sizes in the future.
They are also planning to expand their products from pizza to offering bagels and scones. Pizzas are the easiest because they are flat.
That’s not all — Food 3D printing is also deemed to be the ideal technology in feeding astronauts on long space missions because the edibles it produces can last up to 30 years when placed in special plastic bags.
What Are The Advantages Of Using 3D Printing In Food Industry?
A decade ago, food printing would sound so distant and unlikely to happen.
But today, many have already incorporated the tool in their kitchens to up their game in the competition.
Aside from the convenience of having a machine 3D print your food, the technology offers many advantages that will surely make you fall in love with it.
Here is a list of the advantages of using 3D printers for cooking or food production, according to Joanna Izdebska and Zuzzana Zolek-Tryznowska.
• Food customization
• Food personalization
• Reduces food waste
• Increases food production with ease
• Meal composition adapted to individual diet
• Allows the use of new components or ingredients not popular among consumers
• Makes meal preparation easy and convenient
• Delivers aesthetic and functional customization
• Novel food textures
• Longer shelf life
• Ease of transportation which is mostly applicable to NASA and those in space
• Opens doors for new dishes, artistic designs, and culinary works of art
• Encourages one to design their own food
• An economical and efficient technique of mass personalization
What Is The Future Of 3D Printing Food?
Currently, food 3D printing is experiencing growing popularity. More and more are adding it to their professional kitchens.
Many believe that 3D food printing is the technology of the future because it is capable of delivering unique, attractive and intricate food items.
We can foresee that the “print and eat” technology will be even more popular because it is helpful in producing novel textured foods, healthy foods, smooth and easy-to-swallow foods for the elderly and foods that take years to expire for the astronauts in long space missions. It also prevents food waste.
Pretty sure, it will thrive because it is very promising and it delivers.
7 Best 3D Food Printers
Perhaps by now, you are asking yourself which is the best 3D food printer? I understand that you are looking for one after learning about all the advantages it offers.
I’m pleased to share with you my list of the top 3D food printers in the market today.
1. Wiiboox Sweetin
This is designed to be a chocolate 3D printer from a Chinese company with extensive 3D printing and scanning expertise.
It allows the extrusion of a variety of edibles from its thick paste extruder. It works by preheating the chocolate filament packs or other types of food filaments.
It is easy to operate making it a great addition to every household. It will also be a great bonding time for family to work together and have fun while creating your favorite chocolate treats.
To use it, simply load your design and print your favorite dessert.
2. Zmorph VX
Zmorph is called an all-in-one 3D printer because aside from serving as a food 3D printer it can do regular 3D printing, CNC milling, laser engraving, and other toolhead functions.
Also, aside from its versatility, it is super reliable, accurate, stable and tough. If you want a 3D printer that you can count on this is highly recommended.
Also, if you are a minimalist who don’t want to buy a standard FDM 3D printer and a food 3D printer separately, this is the solution.
Createbot looks sophisticated with its solid metal frame. It is also very pretty and stylish because it comes in three lovely colors — champagne gold, simple silver and rose gold.
It can print various paste-type foods like cookie batter, bean paste, mashed potatoes, chocolate, sesame paste, biscuit, lotus seed paste and more.
Also, it is very cool to use because you can operate it from your laptop, tablet or smartphone, which comes in handy when controlling the temperature for the perfect consistency.
4. Print2Taste Mycusini
This food 3D printer is from the German startup Print2Taste. I included it because it’s the most affordable and reliable 3D printer food you can find out there.
Mycusini is small and compact to fit the kitchen countertop or cupboard. It comes with a stainless steel cartridge refilled with chocolate.
Aside from the price and size, it works well as your first 3D printer food because it comes with over 200 3D models that are already installed so you can start your food 3D printing right away after unboxing.
5. byFlow Focus
byFlow Focus has a sleek and futuristic design, unlike its counterparts. Also, it has been used in many restaurants and businesses already because of its reliability and ease of use. It can accommodate various materials and lets you switch quickly and easily.
The machine helps chefs, patissiers, and chocolatiers customize their recipes in ways not possible by hand or molds.
It also gives you the freedom to enjoy 3D food printing by allowing you to add your recipe. There is so much you can do with this professional kitchen tool.
6. Print2Taste Procusini 5.0
This plug-and-play food 3D printer features specially formulated food cartridges and four types of different chocolate (dark, white, pink and blue).
Its newer version is equipped with an LCD display for a faster and easier operation which makes it perfect for professional kitchens.
It has dual extrusion too for simultaneous printing of two edible materials. You won’t run out of food to 3D print because its online platform, the Procusini Club has thousands of ready-to-print templates, objects, and models.
There are also tons of video tutorials and tips to help you navigate the printer.
7. Choc Edge Choc Creator V2 Plus
Available in a desktop-sized and works like the traditional Fused Deposition Modeling by utilizing the same layer-by-layer method.
It is user-friendly and very easy and convenient to operate because it also comes with a large and responsive touchscreen.
It also enables freehand doodling of 2D designs which will be sent directly to the printer.
It also has a Mix & Match feature, a web-based app that can generate simple text models and customize designs.
Overall, it’s one of the best chocolate 3D printer machines in the market.
So, Is 3D printed food possible? Of course, it is! In fact, it has been used in the food industry already because it makes customization and preparation of the meal easy and convenient.
3D food printers are a great addition to your kitchen especially if you want to customize your products or get creative with your baking output.
There are a lot of applications and there is no doubt that 3D printing is the future technology in the food industry.
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