3-D Printed Food Is a Thing...But Do You Want to Eat It?
It's called Foodini. Rhymes with Houdini. As if it might, at some point, perform some feat of escape artistry.
Photo courtesy Natural Machines Hey, Foodini! Make me a sandwich! (Note: It doesn't work like that)
It's just a box, though, sort of like a microwave with a computer screen on the front. Capsules containing blended food are loaded into the machine, and it's programmed to squirt out the food mush into geometric shapes and patterns. If the food then needs to be cooked, you cook it.
But the point of Foodini is to cut out the prep time. You don't have sprinkle flour all over a surface to roll out pizza dough. You don't have to shape cookies. You don't have to cut and fill ravioli. Foodini does that for you.
If it sounds a little like something out of The Jetsons, that's not such a stretch.
The makers of Foodini emphasize that it's a healthy option, though. There are no space-age, super-processed gels and preservative-laden packets of goop. It's all fresh, real food that you blend in your own kitchen and load into Foodini. Yes, the machine eliminates the need for shaping and assembling certain things, but we're not yet to the point where we can simply push a button and have food appear before us.
Photo courtesy Natural Machines You actually have to do a bit of prep work to get Foodini going.
Foodini recently ended an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign (the company was about $20,000 short at the end of its allotted fundraising window), but it's not the only product out there using technology to produce food.
Chocolate and sugar lend themselves well to 3D printing, as British company ChocEdge has proven with its printers that create intricate designs out of chocolate. What isn't as clear is what the company intends for people to do after they print the chocolate. Let it harden and then...just...eat it?
Sugar can be printed into much more interesting shapes, but again, the question is why? Do we really need colorful, three-dimensional sugar cubes? The company 3D Systems makes a series of printers called ChefJet, which are intended to eventually make sugar sculptures like what one might find on top of a wedding cake. Currently, the color sugar printer has an estimated retail value of $10,000. That's a lot for a pink sugar cube.
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