3D printing is a practice of #additive_manufacturing that creates a 3D object by depositing layer upon layer of material. Initially 3D printing was restricted to applications such as design, prototyping, and construction. The use of #3D_printing of #food is relatively new. For creating 3D printed food, the printing material needs to be edible, and should be in a liquid or flowable powder form. Commercial kitchens and confectionaries have already started using 3D food printers in order to save time and effort.

The advantage of this trend is that we are in complete control. #3D_food_printing can revolutionize the #food_industry by virtue of its ability to manipulate flavor, texture, shape, color, and nutrition; the possibilities are endless. Want to make something that resembles an apple, but tastes like peach—you can do that! Want to laser cut your sushi—why ever not! A company has already made a #3D_printer called #Chef3D for the #NASA that allows #astronauts to make pizza in #space.

While 3D printing of food allows the creativity to run wild, it can also have direct health implications. 3D-printing can help make normal looking foods, softer and easily swallowable, which can then be used by individuals with #dyspahgia (difficulty in swallowing). Some companies have already started testing 3D printers that can produce #gluten_free versions of common foods. The #food_printers of the future would even allow for customization of food at the #macronutritional_level, letting users fix the amounts of #carbohydrates, #protein, and #omega3_fattyacids in their meals, in order to ensure that they do not overeat.

It is also believed that 3D food printing can have a role in #personalized_nutrition, with nutritional content being optimized on the basis of genomic and #biometric_data. Using this technique, the same food can be made different, for different people. Similar to #molecular_gastronomy, 3D food printing also allows for playing with the flavor, texture, and even appearance of a food product. By marrying the principles of molecular gastronomy to the technology of 3D printing, a UK-based company has even developed #3D_printed_fruit.

In an attempt to counter the #food_shortage in the coming future, and in order to contribute to a more #sustainable_world, scientists have already started playing around with various #alternative_food components in their printer mixes. These include #algae, #seaweed, #duckweed, grass, and even #insects. So 3D food printers are also being employed to make unappetizing food, look appetizing.

3D food printing has now joined #modernist_cuisine, #neurogastronomy, #gastrophysics, and molecular gastronomy, as one of the new approaches of #food_making that originate from innovative interactions between the culinary arts, science, and technology.

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