As much as you may love traditional dishes, you should know that 3D printers are about to enter your kitchen. If you are looking for a way to reduce food waste, you could turn to the culinary machines from Cornell University. The American university has devoted years of research to technologies for printing lunch and dinner by mixing the ingredients in the right doses.
The food printer prototype is very similar to traditional 3D printers, but instead of plastic the movable nozzles extrude pre-mixed ingredients. Since the kitchen machine is controlled by a computer, you can customize every last calorie of the food product. The reason that this is considered useful is explained by Jeffrey Lipton, a mechanical engineer at CornellUniversity.
Once you have the automatic collection of what you’re eating and when, you can predict – based off your activity levels, your planned diet and your health records – exactly how much and what types of food you should be eating. That’s really ultimately the long-term potential of food printing.
In a nutshell, in the future, we would have a series of dishes calculated to measure and printed a few seconds before eating them. The idea of consuming artificial foods may not be exciting, but it is still true that a frenetic lifestyle induces us to eat in an irregular and unbalanced way. So, if we have to eat packaged foods, it is better to choose them according to our real needs.
Culinary printing technologies are already more widespread than you might think. Someone has invented a printer for chocolate (useful for decorating cakes, less so for maintaining a balanced diet) and the designer Marcelo Coelho is working on a set called Cornucopia. It is a line of kitchen machines that mixes liquid and solid ingredients.
Google is also taking the first steps in printed food, and is offering its employees custom pasta printed in 3D by Chef Bernard Faucher. Again in the U.S., you will also find those who want to go further: this is the case with Modern Meadow, the U.S. company working on artificial meat produced in the laboratory. What do you make of that?