Is 3D-Printed Food 🥘 the Next At-Home Cooking Trend? [GreenGut Weekly Find 10/2]

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Welcome to the first October edition of the GreenGut Weekly Find! This one is for all you foodie nerds out there — and I know there are a lot of you. 😋

There’s been quite a bit of buzz around 3D-printed food lately, especially with companies like Redefine Meat, Savor Eats and Legendary Vish using the tech to create novel alt protein products. But what if 3D food tech could live right in your kitchen, ready to print any time?

That’s the dream of Lynette Kucsma, co-founder of Natural Machines.

Meet Foodini, the Kitchen Wizard 🧙🏻‍♂️

Based in Barcelona, Spain, Natural Machines has a vision to “produce a full range of innovative kitchen solutions improving the quality and enjoyment of food” with the goal of “[inspiring] individuals to lead more sustainable lifestyles and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable planet.”

Foodini is their first machine, and it’s designed to create and print just about any type of food. The process is completely customizable using fresh ingredients — anything you can puree or make into a paste, you can print. 🖨

An Android-powered touchscreen provides access to the Foodini Creator app and provides guidance through the first steps of creating 3D-printed dishes. You can choose from existing shapes and designs or input and save your own to print again in the future.

Up to five food-safe stainless steel capsules fit into the machine at one time, allowing for a variety of ingredient combinations. Once the food has been printed, you can bake it, freeze it, dehydrate it or eat it fresh, depending on the dish. Future iterations of the product will include laser cooking capabilities, so entire dishes can be prepared directly in the printer. Since you’re in control of what goes in, you can customize the nutrient composition to support your diet and lifestyle goals.

Feel like getting creative? Foodini can also print directly onto foods like cookies and cakes for precision decorating and lettering. It’s also great for getting picky eaters to scarf down veggies and fruits without complaining. (What kid doesn’t love food shapes? 🥦🍆🍏🍌🍅)

3D Printing for a Good Cause

But it’s not all about hitting your macros or printing guacamole in the shape of a football 🏈 for Super Bowl Sunday. Natural Machines is also involved in projects that leverage the benefits of 3D food printing technology for patients facing health challenges.

The company is currently working with the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics and the EIT’s ONCOFOOD project in developing nutritional solutions that cater to those who have difficulty swallowing or are experiencing smell and taste changes due to cancer and cancer treatment. Foodini can take unappealing puréed foods and print them into attractive, recognizable shapes, which improves nutritional outcomes, especially for kids. 🍴

Is 3D Food Printing Ready for Home Kitchens?

As of now, Foodini is being used mostly in food service, restaurants, healthcare facilities and schools, as well as by professional chefs and food manufacturers.

Kucsma sees it as a solution to numerous problems with food production, including food waste. 🚛 Because ingredients get puréed before going into Foodini cartridges, the less-appealing parts of foods and edible scraps that would otherwise get thrown away can be re-purposed into new dishes. 🥘

Getting a Foodini for your kitchen will set you back around $4,000, but that’s likely to change as Natural Machines continues to develop the tech and update the model. One day, 3D food printers could be as ubiquitous as toasters and coffee makers. ☕

Are you waiting for the day when you can try 3D food tech at home? What’s the first thing you would print? 🍕🍪🍰🥗

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