Rapid Prototyping: How Edible is 3D Printed Food?


3D printed food


3D printing and rapid prototyping have taken over the world and its works, quite literally in some cases. From animal prosthetics to engines to food, there is few a 3D printer cannot create with rapid prototyping technology. 3D printed food has been around for a while now and has been implemented in many places from airlines to restaurants. But the question is when a machine creates your chocolates, candies and even pizzas and burgers for that matter, how tasty will it really be, and will people actually accept it even if the process is easier and more convenient.
To come to a solution to this crucial question, a survey team from the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research from the University of Canberra, Australia has conducted an examination to find out whether regular people would choose food made through rapid prototyping over their everyday meals.
Over time, numerous people and organizations gave in to 3D printed foods and have dedicated lots of time, energy and funds to come up with innovations in the 3D printed food industry.


NASA has also put in funds and researchers to come up with 3D printers especially designed for food that can produce both nutritious and delicious food in outer space. Hospitals are also focusing on this technology because 3D printers can create foods with the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients and yet be easily chewable and digestible for their patients who cannot always consume solid regular food.
Not just companies, but chefs too are being drawn in on this rapid prototyping manufactured food. Renowned chefs are looking in on this technology because it would allow them to explore and experiment with food designs for better visuals as well as integrate the nutrition that goes in. Food Ink is a restaurant located in London that uses this rapid prototyping technology to create the most eye-catching food one can think of. They have made headlines with their over the top designs and hence the makers of their nūfood 3D printer are now raising funds to give everyone a 3D printed food experience.
From NASA’s use of 3D printed food in space to hospitals using them for patients and fancy restaurants using them for creative designs, all these uses are very exceptional. The general question is, how popular and accepted will it be for everyday meals. Would people go out and buy 3D printed breakfasts? Or would they prefer their wedding cakes to be 3D printed? Would a 3D printed pizza be as appetizing as a handmade one?
Bethaney Turner and Deborah Lupton from the University of Canberra conducted a survey through an online group and asked 30 people how they would like the idea of food manufactured with rapid prototyping. The shocking bit of the survey was most people were not even aware this technology could be used in food. To most people, 3D printers were something to be used for metals and plastics only and the thought of using it to manufacture food was mind boggling. When explained, these people were not overly fond of it and had concerns about eating something made through 3D printers.
One particular section of the survey asked people for their opinions on a number of different food items made by 3D printers. They were provided with images of foods such as candies, carrots, snacks made from insects, chicken puree, vegetable puree, pasta, and chocolates.
One particularly enlightening section of the survey asked the participants to give their opinion about a range of different 3D printed food items. Particularly, the participants were told to give their opinion on seven photos of food items. These bizarre items were some 3D printed carrots made from carrot puree, candy, a gelled chicken puree serving shaped as a drumstick, a cubical snack made using ground up insects, a pizza, uncooked rose shaped pasta and finally, some amazing rose shaped chocolates.
Survey showed that more people were more inclined towards the 3D printed pizza and chocolate more than the food made from ground insects. Most people wanted to try out the carrots, chocolates and pizzas whereas the candies, insects, chicken and vegetables received much fewer votes.
The participant’s responses showed that their opinions were connected to their perceptions and preferences and the matter and compositions of food. The other big concern was the processing. In today’s world everyone seems to want organic and natural ingredients in their food, hence the mere idea of their food being processed through a machine sounds troubling to some.
Even though there are doubts, and it will take a good amount of time for the people to accept 3D printed food into their daily lives. However, in the big picture, and in special cases its use is widely demanded and people are doing everything they can to put it to use.


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