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What can 3D Printing do for Food

July 18, 2018

The use of 3D printing in the 1990s was hailed as the coming technology to manufacture parts in industries such as automobiles, airplanes, farm equipment, and other metal and plastic parts. Now it is coming to the food and life sciences industries. Use of the technology is expected to be a disruptive force in these industries.

Already there are several companies that have 3D printing machines that are producing confectionaries, savories, and even pizza. Initially, 3D food printing companies concentrated on intricate sugar-heavy confectionaries. However, BeeHex CEO worked with NASA to develop a food printer system to be used in deep space. Starting in 2014, another company, Natural Machines, started investigating using their own natural ingredients instead of prefilled food capsules.

Both companies are now marketing 3D printing systems directly to restaurants. The Natural Machines’ system is called Foodini. The system provides up to five food capsules composed of edible ingredients and a variety of nozzles to accommodate different ingredients, shapes, and textures that can be 3D printed.. The Foodini is being rolled out to professional kitchens but Natural Machines is using the feedback to develop a 3D printing system for use in home kitchens. BeeHex is marketing its 3D printing system as dessert decorators, toppings robots, and custom pizza makers (see below). They are promoting the systems as ways for retailers to attract customers to their locations. It is also developing services for personalized nutrition that would use its printer to assist consumers in developing a dietary regime for their personal nutritional needs.

Another company, ByFlow, is marketing a portable 3D food printer called Focus. It is also sold as a B2B product with an emphasis on desserts including chocolates and meringues. The product provides 10 food-safe and refillable cartridges, four nozzles in two different sizes, and five prepared food designs to immediately start printing.

How can this technology assist you in developing the products of the future?  What other technologies are needed to develop the products of the 21st century? Some of the technologies that might be of interest are:

  • Biometrics (to determine the factors needed to develop a personalized nutrition plan)
  • Fitness and Sports (to find out how fitness or sports are leading to healthier lives)
  • Health and Biotech (to get the clinical evidence for validation of healthier outcomes)
  • Lifestyle (to illustrate the positive and negative aspects of an individual’s lifestyle)
  • Mobile Apps (to monitor the changes that will provide consumers a better quality of life)
  • Robotics (to expand on the layering needed for 3D printing)
  • Wearables (to provide information on how the consumer is interacting with their environment)

TCI has consulted with food and consumer products companies as well as the developers of 3D printing equipment to assist them in understanding their technology needs and finding what is needed to complete their product development. Let us help you to move your product development program forward.

Contact for more information:

Shala Doerr
Director, Business Development
(703) 531-0257