Five 3D food printers to save us from hunger in the future

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Until 2017 it seemed that synthetic meat is the pinnacle of innovations, which modern science could offer to the food industry. However, in 2019 appeared a new start-up developing 3D printing of meat steaks – Redefine Meat (also known as Jet-Eat), located in Israel.

The project is working on a technology that would allow producing vegetable-based “meat alternative,” entire meals, such as beef steaks, roast, and stew from natural ingredients. Their approach combines patented 3D printing technology, digital modeling, and vegetable-based food products recipes, which helps them create new categories of meat products.

But what else have additive technologies brought to the food industry?

All these machines can produce chocolate, noodles, sugar, and even more dishes: the capabilities are almost limitless. There are more details about 3D printers that can print real dishes further in the article.

Choc Edge Choc Creator 2.0 Plus

Choc Edge Choc Creator 2.0 Plus is a food printer for professional confectioners. You can create chocolate objects of various difficulties with their help. To print products, heated chocolate is poured into special 30 mm syringes. The printer is equipped with an LCD touch screen and, the model templates are loaded using a USB drive.

There are various apps for the users, such as Choc Draw, Mix & Match and, Choc Text. You can create your own pictures and inscriptions with their help.

ChefJet (3D Systems)

The first device for food 3D printing was presented by 3D systems on CES 2014. Food printers allow creating multi-faceted expendable molds of sweet culinary creations – from unconventional candies and cupcakes to large cakes and other desserts.

3D Systems ChefJet Pro is a professional confectionery 3D printer, designed for printing with different materials and colors. It works on the principle of three-dimensional inkjet printing: the device forms thin layers of sugar-containing powder materials due to water treatment.

ChefJet can work with color, leaving monochrome prints on products. At the same time, the more advanced ChefJet Pro can work with multiple colors at the same time. Both printers can produce confectionery made from sugar or milk chocolate with different flavors including cherry, mint and sour apple.

The maximum size of the working area is 255x355x295mm. The Device is equipped with a control module with a built-in touch screen to create a 3D model, as well as a USB port and a wireless interface (Wi-Fi) to receive data for printing.

cupcakes, dessert, frosting

The CandyFab 4000

This 3D printer’s main difference is that it is created for entertainment – it doesn’t have a good resolution but it can print candy! Sugar is among several powdery substances it can use. CandyFab prints objects by simply melting powdered sugar in place, layer by layer. The main features of Candy Fab are:

  • low cost of the required parts;
  • very low cost of materials(sugar);
  • non-toxic environment(sugar);
  • large build volume;
  • open-source design.

CandyFab is certainly not designed to make high-quality objects and it is not a food 3D printer for cakes, as its resolution is still fairly low (0.2–0.06), and the resulting surfaces are not quite smooth. However, it is reasonably cheap (standard model can be assembled for $500), therefore, it is perfect for beginners to train.

Foodini (Natural Machines)

Foodini works using FDM technology (depositing material layer by layer). The printer squeezes the liquid material onto the printing platform, forming a solid structure over time.

The device is equipped with five capsules for five different ingredients, each of which can be squeezed out with different pressure and temperature.

These capsules need to be filled with ready-made materials in a pasty state, prepared with a blender or in some other way.

The created 3D-product can be consumed immediately after production(for example, if it is a dessert), or it is necessary to submit it to heat treatment (in case you printed pasta or pizza).

Chef3D (BeeHex)

Chef 3D printer, developed by BeeHex, is able to print a unique pizza, based on the individual requirements of the customer: for example, for a child, you can create a pizza in the form of their favorite cartoon character, and a gluten-free pizza for adults who suffer from gastrointestinal diseases.

The device uses a pneumatic system instead of the traditional layer-by-layer synthesis 3D printing technology. In 2017, BeeHex raised $1 million in venture capital investments to produce 3D printers. According to the lead investor of the round, the development may be of interest to large pizza chains such as Domino’s or Pizza Hut.

Initially, BeeHex wanted to create a printer that would be able to make a variety of products for astronauts during long missions in outer space. But the company’s co-founders were able to adapt their original technology for the commercial market to create products on Earth.

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