Faster 3D food printing will reach the consumer – Interview with Nesli Sözer, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Dr. Nesli Sözer is a Principal Investigator at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. and works on the refinement of ingredients and structures of 3D printed food. She will give a speech on this subject and the latest developments in the field during the 3D Food Printing Conference, on June 28, 2017, in Venlo, The Netherlands.
“At the moment the fact that 3D food printing is not generally known to the greater public has to do with challenges associated with ingredient mix rheology (study of flow of mass), shape and structure accuracy, material memory, compatibility with traditional food processing technologies and the low printing speed of 3D printing machines,” according to Dr. Nesli Sözer, “Until now 3D food printing is mostly limited to special designs which require high precision printing. Something you can do with the high end food printers, but is more difficult for the cheaper machines available to the general market. But printing speed is essential to the future acceptance of 3D food printing.”
Dr. Sözer is specialized in food material science and food ingredient/product design. She has a specific focus on utilization of plant matrices, like dietary fiber and protein. Recently she has been working on the use of 3D food printing technology towards structure formation. Structures are depend on the ingredients used for the printing. 3D food printing is a disruptive technology and still under development to find extensive value-chains. Present applications of 3D food printing mostly rely on ingredients like processed cheese, cake frosting, chocolate and paste/gel based structures. To develop a better structure experience for the consumer it is necessary that ingredient producers, the food industry, printer manufacturers, service providers, retail and consumers work together.
“For the larger public 3D food printing is still far away, mostly because of its long production time. Depending on the design and the required precision it can take 15-30 min to print a snack bar. But I think that in the next two and half years the developments will be very positive and as well ingredients, soft- and hardware will be more defined, in a way that more printers can be used at the same time,” according to Dr.Sözer. She sees a major development being possible in the area of personalized nutrition or special required foods for example lactose- and fat free “In the existing food manufacturing lines it is not so easy to switch production from one product recipe to the other mainly due to rheological and structural differences arising from the recipe differences This is one area where 3D food printer can be utilized to provide efficiency in mass customization manufacturers.”
Dr Sözer concludes: “The main bottle neck for 3D printing in the coming years will be in the optimization of ingredient rheology, post processing technologies and the printing speed. These are the challenges that need to be tackled to adapt the 3D printing technology in food production chain. At the moment we are working on 3D printed food structures to get novel eating experiences. Our aim is to create new business opportunities within the ecosystem of ingredient producers, food industry, printer manufacturers, service providers (for example 3D printing hardware and software companies), retail and prosumers.”
For more information and registration to the 3D Food Printing Conference, please visit https://3dfoodprintingconference.com/
The interview was made by Jakajima, the organiser of the conference. For more interviews with speakers at Jakajima conferences, we invite you to visit Jakajima’s website