Imagine being able to print food like how we print papers, how cool is that! Currently, there is
a revolution towards 3D Printing. 3D Printing is known for the construction of models or
prototypes, and as technology advances, you can print anything you want with a 3D Printer.
In Singapore, many researchers and some industries have made use of the printers to help
them print unique designs for chocolates and pastries.
3D printed food benefits patients who face difficulty swallowing as 3D printed food are made
out of puree – such as sweet potato, pollack, and green peas. Pureed food are usually quite
unappetising due to its consistency and visuals, which can affect the patient’s appetite and
lead to weight loss or nutritional deficiency. Thus, with 3D printing, we can print their meals
with puree and still make it visually appealing.
Additionally, meals printed can be more nutritious than our usual meals. When making the
“food ink” for the 3D printer, it is possible to deliver the right number of calories, vitamins and
nutrients for each meal. This can be beneficial in healthcare as each patient has different
diets and restrictions.
Furthermore, having meals printed is more hygienic. Jonathan Blutinger, one of the
researchers at Columbia University at New York said, “With more emphasis on food safety
following the COVID-19 pandemic, food prepared with less human handling could lower the
risk of foodborne illness and disease transmission.”
3D food printing can be time consuming and is difficult to do in high volume. Also, the “food
ink” would require much trial and error before achievinga perfect consistency so that the food printed stays in shape.
Currently, it can be very expensive to print 3D food due to it being a fairly new technology in
the market. Furthermore, the resources required are costly to produce as compared to
regular food production.
Fret not, I do believe in a few years time, 3D food printing might just be a norm and we will
be eating printed food that can serve as fast as we imagine printers can be. Let’s continue to
await what is ahead of us!
Written by Tee Yun Wei
Illustrated by Lim Daphne