No food in the fridge? Just print it.

By Alexander Jaspers, Strategist at Metalworks by Maxus

Change is exciting, and the democratisation of technology is bringing new technologies to everyone; technologies that will change our daily lives. For a long time 3D printing was only available to engineers in corporate R&D labs. The democratization started with printing on paper, and soon we are printing objects made from plastic and metal at home. 3D printing is taking over the world by storm, and is being used to create replacement parts, toys, musical instruments or prototypes that will be in everyone’s living room in the near future. At Metalworks we use our 3D printer almost every day to turn concepts from mere ideas into reality – helping our clients to lean into change. 

Scientists, hobbyists and tinkerers all over the world are experimenting with new materials to print. And while we might not be fully able to print human organs yet, there are now multiple 3D printers that can print what we love most: food. There is a 3D printer for almost everything, with printers out there that can print chewing gum, ice cream and even chocolate. The food 3D printers might be a game changer in the way we consume food: You think your significant other is really sweet? In the future nothing will stop you from 3D chocolate printing his head and discover an even sweeter side of her/him.

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Food brands are now discovering novel ways to let consumers take part in their innovation process. In order to find the newest pasta shape to sit next to Spaghetti, Farfalle and Penne on supermarket shelves, Barilla ran a contest to get inspiration from the Internet. One of the winners of the contest was a rose-shaped pasta, which only turns into a flower when placed in boiling water. This unique design was made possible by 3D printing. Moreover, Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn now lets their consumers print Nutella decorations for their pies and cakes. It is only a matter of time until we see even more food being printed.

The question is, what will be printed next?