Earl Grey, Hot: The Future of 3D Food Printing

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3D food printers are very much in their infancy, but in time they could become the primary means of food preparation, bringing dramatic changes to the way we eat. We consider a world where food is printed, not cooked

In just a few short years, the most ubiquitous form of 3D printer will be one that prints food.

That may seem like a bold claim; while regular 3D printers have been a growing market for some years, food-based 3D printers are barely out of development, and, with a few rare exceptions, are not yet available to consumers.

However, food-printing devices have something that other 3D printers don’t: mass appeal. While makers, cosplayers and tech-savvy yet exhausted parents have embraced 3D printing, for most people they are cumbersome objects that print pointless stuff you neither need nor want.

Food printing, on the other hand, is different. Quite obviously everyone eats, but it’s more than that. The rise of competitive cookery programmes, exciting new flavour combinations and Instagram feeds is getting more and more of us to experiment with extravagant and visually appealing food, and as a result, a slew of weird and wonderful kitchen gadgets are vying for space on our countertops.

3D food printers fit that demand so perfectly that it’s no wonder consumer electronics retailers are falling over themselves to stock them. When 3D printer makers XYZ Printers showed off their prototype 3D food printer for the first time last year, they were inundated with requests to stock it from some of the biggest electronics retailers around.

The product was nowhere near ready for consumer release, but the perceived market is so strong that retailers want to get such products on their shelves as quickly as possible. And it won’t be long before they get their wish.

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