Thursday, December 7, 2023

3D food printing? Here’s how a seven ingredient cake came out

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Food technology is evolving. This week, scientists published a report on the findings from a seven-ingredient cake created with 3D printing. 

Food printing constructs 3D shapes from edible food inks along with laser cooking that utilizes high-energy targeted light for high-resolution tailored heating, according to the NPJ Science of Food journal “The future of software-controlled cooking” published on March 21, and the report provides a glimpse into where food technology is and where it might be headed.

The seven-ingredient cake print design was similar to constructing a home with floors, walls and ceiling, the report said, adding that graham cracker was used as the foundation, Nutella and peanut butter as mold. The seven ingredients used were graham cracker paste, peanut butter, strawberry jam, Nutella, banana puree, cherry drizzle and frosting.

“With the continual evolution of digital technologies, laser cooking and 3D food printing may present nutritious, convenient and cost-effective cooking opportunities,” a portion of the report said. 

Cooking in the digital age could calculate calories more efficiently to combat the obesity crisis, the report said. “Using software to combine and cook ingredients allows a chef to more easily control the nutrient content of a meal, which could lead to healthier and more customized meals.”

However, the report also noted the “recent emphasis on locally-grown whole foods suggests that the pendulum is swinging back to the nation’s turn of the 20th-century diet based on real affordable foods, rather than manufactured food products.” 

“The potential for widespread acceptance of 3D-printed food is difficult to determine at this early stage of development,” the report adds. “3D food printing has the potential to be the next frontier in cooking. However, questions surrounding cost, ease of use, and consumer acceptance will likely be top factors driving the trajectory of this technology.”

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