3D printing technology and how it can help create plant based foods

nutrition

Since the start of 3D Food Printing it has been used to create products with ever increasing complexity.
The possibility to deposit materials in specific amounts and positions and thus create unique material compositions and distributions within a single product is what is unique about 3D printing. As such, this allows for the creation of products with very specific properties, including structure and texture. The learnings from the past decade form the basis for the creation of novel plant-based food products.

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Plant-based food structured by 3D printing: Opportunities and challenges

To provide consumers with high-quality plant-based food, not only is the nutritional content of importance, but also the texture and taste. Many animal-derived food products have a hierarchical structure which can be crucial for the texture, and subsequently, a unique biting experience. This drives the development of various technologies to create plant-based food structures that are similar to that of e.g. meat, fish, or cheese. One of the many promising techniques is 3D food printing.

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Adapting the curdling process of cheese for 3D printing of protein-fortified milk

Dairy ingredients such as milk proteins have structure-forming capabilities and are, therefore, suitable ingredients for 3D food printing. In the cheese-making process, during the curdling step, milk proteins coagulate and form a gel (curd) produced by the action of rennet (a substance typically found in a calf’s stomach). The consistency and coagulation speed of the milk curd can be controlled by factors such as protein content, pH, salt concentration and temperature.

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