Of all the 3D printing applications, a difficult one for people to stomach is one that affects the stomach. I am talking about 3D printed food. Why the controversy? In the past decades there’s been a growing awareness of the health limitations of industrial food production. Not only has fast food received a bad rap, due to popular documentaries like Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me,” but the “slow food movement” challenges how we relate to food preparation. Author Michael Pollan’s books — The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and Food Rules — have had a big influence on people’s food behaviors. He tells us to slow down, eat mostly plants, and my personal favorite: “Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
If you take this rule to heart, what is the true future of 3D printed food?
In this context of growing health and ecological awareness, 3D printed food awkwardly asserts itself and its own relevance. But how much growth will we see in this market beyond a gimmicky or boutique NASA niche, really? One answer to this question is provided by Anjan Contractor, whose Systems and Materials Research Corporation has received a $125,000 NASA grant to create a prototype for a universal food synthesizer. This type of machine prints food from powder and oil that will presumably contain everything necessary for well-balanced meals: protein, complex carbohydrates, etc. Still difficult to stomach? No worries.Read more