3D-Printed Food: Nutrition Opportunities and Challenges

By Mia Barnes
on 20 June 2024

3D food printing technology, such as printers and software-driven processes, is a rapidly
advancing field positioned to revolutionise how you prepare your favourite meals in the kitchen. It offers many benefits that help people save time, energy and resources. However, like other technological
advancements in the culinary industry, it is not without its challenges.

3D food printing vs. traditional manufacturing

3D-printed food is prepared via the automated process of 3D printing. It is constructed layer by
layer, much like how Lego blocks are used to build a structure.

In contrast, traditional manufacturing requires mass production to offset production and labour
expenses. With 3D food printing, manufacturing costs are unaffected by quantity, making it a
more economical choice for small-volume production. It facilitates faster production of small to
medium objects with minimal waste material, making it more efficient than traditional

What are the nutritional opportunities?

Here are some significant health advantages of 3D-printed food:

  1. Plant-Based Products
    The rising interest in plant-based eating and sustainability has led to increased plant-based
    in the market. Many companies are now employing 3D printing to create plant-based
    products that emulate the texture, taste, smell and nutritional profile of “real” things you might eat. For instance, Revo Foods created the world’s first 3D-printed vegan salmon, rich in all nine essential amino acids, and vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, D2 and B12. Consuming this salmon variant provides the same nutrients, offering protection from deadly cardiac rhythm disturbances and anti-inflammatory benefits when consumed regularly. This innovation holds the potential for global implementation to conserve marine life.
  2. Personalised Nutrition
    This technology offers opportunities for precise nutrient control, which can benefit people with
    specific dietary restrictions. If you’re considering investing in a 3D food printer for household
    use, check with your doctor for a personalised diet plan based on your health history and
    current medications.

What are the possible pitfalls?

A study shows that dishes printed with 3D technology raise the same concern as microwaved meals. Due to ultra-processing, they may induce low satiety and promote mindless eating practices driven by
personalised preferences.

Since this technology is still emerging, only a limited range of ingredients is currently suitable.
Given its inherent complexity, food printing is more appropriate for commercial production
than household use today.

What is the future like for food printing?

Food printed with this emerging technology has the potential to revolutionise meal preparation methods.
However, several challenges still need to be addressed. Nonetheless, a brighter future looms
for 3D food printing technology, where printing your favourite foods becomes more feasible.

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