Can you imagine? Edible food from a 3D printer! Sound too far-fetched? Think again! A Spain-based company called, “Natural Machines” has already created a 3D printer for food. Foodini uses real ingredients to make edible food. The idea is that depending on the food, Foodini either prints out the meal or snack, or partially prints out the food (like ravioli), so that the consumer can finish cooking the item (boiling, baking, etc.). As they develop the product, they ask the question, “Is it faster to print or complete the task by hand?”. Their goal is to make healthy eating/cooking (printing!!) easier so tasks for humans and Foodini are designated accordingly.
Foodini is connected to the internet, so the user only needs to tell Foodini what to create and then printing the food begins. The product comes with software and can be connected to computers, tablets, and touch-screen devices.
Here are some facts from the company’s website:
**The company intends Foodini to be for everyone, from 5-star chefs interested in presentation to at-home consumers who would like a little help making meals.
**The company reminds us that much of what we eat is processed food. Foodini would actually be healthier for us because it uses real ingredients with no additives or preservatives.
**Foodini is meant to lessen the more time-consuming tasks in the kitchen, like making ravioli from scratch.
**The company is designing the product to address two major concerns: to make the machine look sleek in the kitchen and to ensure that all the moving parts that create the food are easy to disassemble and clean.
**Foodini is made of food-grade parts, including “capsules” where fresh ingredients are placed. In the future, the company would like to sell pre-filled capsules to customers to make cooking– uh, printing– even easier.
**Food can be printed in a matter of minutes, though more intricate designs make take around 20 minutes or so to print (wow, that’s such a weird sentence to type!).
**Currently, Foodini can print “pastas (ravioli, gnocchi, spaghetti, …), burgers (veggie and meat), chicken nuggets (and chickpea nuggets as a vegetarian alternative), quiche, pizza, “designer” fish & chips, hash browns, cookies, crackers, brownies, chocolate, etc.”.
**Contrary to what you might be thinking, Natural Machines states that we actually may become better cooks using Foodini. Instead of eating pre-packaged foods, the user will need to work with fresh ingredients in order for Foodini to work.
There are so many more interesting facts to chew on (get it??) in the company’s FAQ section. Click this link to see pics of foods that Foodini can currently print out. And this link will give you a brief look at this new, magical Foodini thingamajigger. To keep up with their news and release dates, Natural Machines has several social media outlets including a FB page.
Natural Machines is only releasing Foodini to “early-access users” for now, for about $4,000. It seems the company really wants to fine-tune the machine before it releases it to the general public and they expect that prices will decrease as the technology continues to advance.
If we think about how current manufacturing of processed food works, the technology of Foodini ends up not sounding so far-fetched after all. I personally am all over this: it seems safer than a microwave (which I limit my use of) and one can be artistic with the machine. Then there is the practicality of it being a time-saver. I also think it will be incredibly fun to watch my food being printed out! For now, the flavors of the food that can be printed are mostly sweet and savory. I am looking forward to having one of these in my kitchen over the next decade or so!
Writer: CJ Heath