3D Printed Food.

Because I <3 all things new and different I totally want to try 3D printed pizza and cookies. 

The future of food is here. At CES 2015 XYZprinting made Chris and Marty from IGN dinner (a 3D printed pizza), and they lived to rave about it.

 

Just like these gentlemen, I'd be saying "they printed a pizza" on a loop. 

Those of us that were infatuated with Astronaut Ice Cream and Tang as kids can easily see how 3D printed food will be helpful in space. But are there applications on earth that make sense?

The easiest foods for us to grasp are things that are chocolate and sugar based. Because those edibles effortlessly change from liquid to solid we can quickly comprehend how that would work. 

You don't have to be as adventurous as our 3D printed pizza eaters to think, "yeah, I'd try candy or chocolate."

And from those confections, it doesn't take you long to get to Weddings cake toppers. Something to match your theme? An edible model of the bride and groom? All good ideas.

Topper printed by ChefJet™ and ChefJet™Pro3D which claims to be the world’s first kitchen-ready food 3D printer. Available for purchase by consumers in late 2015. 

Topper printed by ChefJet™ and ChefJet™Pro3D which claims to be the world’s first kitchen-ready food 3D printer. Available for purchase by consumers in late 2015. 

But beyond the novelty and the promise of expensive confections, does 3D printing food make sense? For those of us on earth?

Yes. 

We just have to think of it from another perspective. 

Designing for the Fringe

Imagine you have Dysphagia or problems swallowing. Your Dysphagia is a result of a brain injury you got while riding your bike. You're 17. You're accident was 2 years ago. You've been slowly getting better, heck you can even walk now, but your dysphagia hasn't gone away.

The bike accident took a lot of your freedom and now you're back at school, wanting desperately for people to see you as you, not just the person who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up getting hurt. Lunchtime sucks because your dysphagia reminds everyone of your "disability." 

Imagine this vibrant 17-year-old doesn't have to drink soup from a sippy cup while her friends enjoy salads and pizza. Imagine she gets the chance to eat a meal of carrots, peas and maybe a steak, all prepared at her school.

Image of 3D printed carrots from 3digitalcooks, courtesy of TNO.

Image of 3D printed carrots from 3digitalcooks, courtesy of TNO.

This scenario is only a little farfetched. Today, people with dysphagia are eating 3D printed food. Though there isn't currently a scenario at a high school, nursing homes and hospitals have been helping those with dysphagia have a better quality of life. Only babies crave baby food. 

If we focus on making delicious, sustainable food for people with dysphagia we can get beyond the candy and chocolate phase of 3D printed food faster. Faster innovation means better results for all of us. 

So the next time someone talks to you about the crazy, new fad of 3D printing food get excited and look for applications that would work in our lives, here on earth.