3D printing has evolved from a novelty item to a viable in-store tool

3D printing is being used across a range of industries, from construction to medical technology. Its use in the food industry continues to grow, allowing for customization across a number of categories. 3D printing of confectionery has focused primarily on chocolate and hard sugar candy, tut recent innovations have led to printing of gummy candy. In the US, retailer Dylan’s Candy Bar is offering in-store 3D printing, providing consumers with over 100 designs for candy that can be made in five minutes.

3D printing moves from hard candy to gummies

The first generation of 3D food printers included machines that could produce layered hard sugar and chocolate confectionery products. In January 2014, leading 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems announced a multi-year joint venture development agreement with The Hershey Company to explore and develop innovative opportunities for using 3D printing technology in creating edible foods.

The partnership could create a whole new form of candy or develop new production methods, says William Papa, Hershey’s vice president and chief research and development officer. In fact, the company compares the 3D printer to the microwave oven, with the potential for customization to be significant. “3­D printed chocolate could become a permanent fixture at our retail stores in the near term, for example,” says Jeff Mundt, Hershey’s senior managing marketer of technology. “Consumers will be able to design their own piece of chocolate, have it printed before their eyes and take it home as a special souvenir.” Read more

Source: mintel.com; image: flickr.com

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