4 things you don’t know about 3D food printing

*check our new podcast episode at the end of the post*

Did you ever consider eating a 3D printed pizza? Can you imagine having a 3D printer for food next to your microwave oven? Well, dear foodies, get ready, the revolution is happening.

In fact, also NASA has recently funded a Small Business Innovation Research in order to pursue this technology for the on demand production of food in the International Space Station! Eating in space will be a whole different experience for our astronauts.

3D printing is also called Additive Manufacturing (AM) and is a promising field that is facing the challenge of reproducing traditional food with printing techniques. As you might guess, printing food is not as easy as it seems when you write it down.

In this article we will highlight four important aspects of 3D food printing:

1. Personalised nutrition

In a world where food companies are working with the aim of improving customer’s life, health and behaviour in terms of food choices and nutrition, 3D printing can be regarded as a useful tool for customisation and personalised nutrition and to design customised food for children and elderly people especially helping them whenever there are any chewing or swallowing issues thanks to the textures that will be able to be obtained by using this technology.

2. Ingredients need to be ‘Printable’

First of all, for a food to be printed, the ingredients as well must be “printable” because it is important for an ingredient (let’s say a puree) to maintain and keep the shape upon all of the manipulation the food might go through in terms of boiling or frying or cooking in general.

Food scientists, alongside companies producing 3D printers, are working in order to develop reproducible recipes to be prepared via 3D printing and nowadays, it is also common to find restaurants that offer 3D printed food (Food Ink in London).

3. Keeping structure upon deposition

As we previously mentioned, for 3D food printing, a rational food design is needed. 3D food printing makes it possible to obtain complex textures and structures and a key element is the printability of the ingredient. This means that the material itself should have a texture that is able to keep the structure upon handling and deposition in order to make the food resist to boiling or baking or frying and so on which is part of post-processing.

In order to do so, it is important to have a knowledge of the essential components of food such as carbohydrates, fat and proteins.

One example regards sugar as the crystallisation state of sugars is important especially for chocolate 3D printing. Protein conformation can be changed by handling conditions (pH or temperature) and can change conformation thanks to the use of enzymes.

4. Sustainability

Given the idea of 3D food printing as a mean of merging several processing steps into one, there would be a fair decrease of food waste. Food won’t be manufactured until ordered, hence less water and less energy will be consumed.

02×07. Inner tree bark flour and its uses, summary from my chat with Chef Stefano Basello The Food Science Addict Podcast

Today we are talking about what I have found about the use of inner tree bark (Pine and Birch specifically). You will also listen to me talking about the chat that I have recently had with Chef Stefano Basello from therestaurant 'Il Fogolar' at the Hotel Là di Moret in Udine. He is using the inner tree bark of pine trees to produce a flavourful bread (listen to the episode to learn more). Here is the link of the Hotel and Restaurant if you want to visit that amazing place that is Italy and Veneto: https://ladimoret.it/en/restaurant/ A quick youtube video (in italian): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DbWocfDgnY Novel Foods Catalogue: https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/novel-food/novel-food-catalogue_en I want to thank the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) for sponsoring this season of the podcast. Read more about the IFST and become a member in order to access their resources and events: https://www.ifst.org/ ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————- Find us: Instagram: @thefoodscienceaddict Blog: https://thefoodscienceaddict.com/ Email: thefoodscienceaddict@outlook.com If you want to support us with a 1£ 'tip': https://ko-fi.com/thefoodscienceaddict
  1. 02×07. Inner tree bark flour and its uses, summary from my chat with Chef Stefano Basello
  2. 02×06. Food Science roles: meet a Sensory Scientist
  3. 02×05. Formulation of healthier meat products with a focus on sensory
  4. 02×04. How chocolate is made
  5. 02×03. Sweeteners


Dankar I., Haddarah A., Omar F.E.L., Sepulcre F., Pujola’ M. (2018). 3D printing technology: The new era for food customization and elaboration. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 75, 231 – 242.

Godoi F.C., Prakash S., Bhandari B.R. (2016). 3D printing technologies applied for food design: status and prospects. Journal of Food Engineering. 179, 44 – 54.

Lipton J.I., Cutler M., Nigl F., Cohen D., Lipson H. (2015). Additive manufacturing for the food industry. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 43, 114 – 123.

Joost H.G., Gibney M.J., Cashman K.D., Gӧrman U., Hesketh J., Mueller M., van Omen B., Williams C.M., Mathers J.C. (2007). Personalised nutrition: status and perspectives. British Journal of Nutrition. 98, 26-31.

Image: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/3d-food-printers-how-they-could-change-what-you-eat/

One thought on “4 things you don’t know about 3D food printing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s