Exploration of 3D food printing and its application for tailored military rations – Presented by Mary Scerra, US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, at the 3D Food Printing Conference, Jun 28, Brightlands Campus, Villa Flora, Venlo, The Netherlands.
3D printing technology for food continues to advance. This technology uniquely offers customizability, which is as yet an unexploited advantage for fulfilling an individual’s preferences or specific nutritional needs. The potential relevance of this technology for application to military field feeding is currently being investigated.
Consumer judgements of the sensory characteristics and concept acceptability of 3D printed food were recently measured, showing both high approval of the product and general acceptance of the technology. While food, with its complex and varied composition and rheological behavior, is a relatively challenging media to 3D print, we have demonstrated that systematically modifying the material properties of the matrices aids in their printability.
Application of this technology to military field feeding could in the future provide highly tailored ration components that meet the Warfighter’s real-time nutritional needs and preferences. Furthermore, placement of 3D printers on or near the battlefield could be logistically beneficial by reducing reliance on typical thermostabilized ration components, which have a mandated 3 year shelf life, and in which quality can degrade over time. PAO# U18-146
About Mary Scerra
Ms. Mary Scerra is a Food Technologist for the Combat Feeding Directorate (CFD) of the US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, located in Natick, MA. The mission of CFD encompasses the total life cycle of combat rations and field feeding systems for US military forces. As a project officer she conducts research in novel food processing techniques, advanced product development, physical analytical testing and sensory evaluation for the development of safe, nutritious and highly acceptable components for military field feeding.
Ms. Scerra holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutrition and is a licensed dietitian.
The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) is located at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts, under the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command. For six decades, NSRDEC has focusing on Soldier-related research, development and testing and evaluation efforts. If Soldiers wear it, eat it, sleep under it, or have it airdropped to them in theater, it can be traced back to NSRDEC. NSRDEC provides a wide range of capabilities to the Soldier, including field feeding and life support systems, clothing, precision airdrop systems, and ballistic, chemical and laser-protection systems.
The 3D printing technology will be fundamental to the way people interact with food in the future. Supermarkets are already testing to 3D print customized cakes, restaurants are offering printed desserts. Some even claim that there will be a 3D food printer in every home in just two years.
However, much research is required to change the hype into reality. Which industries will be influenced by the technology? Which food components can be printed in the near future? And which aspects should be taken into account to ensure safety and maintainability of 3D printed food?
The 3D Food Printing Conference will answer this kind of questions.
The conference is part of a two-day Agri Food Innovation Event (June 27-28, 2018) that includes 4 dedicated conferences and an expo.