ChefJet 3D printed full-color candy. Source: 3D Systems
ChefJet 3D printed full-color candy. Source: 3D Systems

Scientists and researchers are working on 3D printing food, which could potentially change how we prepare our food.

A start-up company in Barcelona is already working on that reality, with a Kickstarter project that hopes to fund their 3D printer called the Foodini.

The Foodini can print pizza dough and sauce, pastas, burgers, chicken nuggets, quiche, fish and chips, hash browns, cookies, crackers, chocolate and more. That’s quite a menu for one little machine, especially considering that 3D printing food is a relatively new endeavor.

In 2013, 3D Systems developed the ChefJet™, a 3D printer that prints candy creations. “Food is an incredible platform for creativity, experimentation, and celebration and we are thrilled to place these powerful 3D printers in bakers and chefs’ kitchens,” said Liz von Hasseln, Creative Director Food Products, 3DS. “We invite leading pastry chefs, restaurateurs and event planners to join us in bringing 3D printing into the kitchen.”

There are many other start-ups and 3D food printers that are currently being developed. Scientists hope that 3D printed food will help end world hunger. Users could use powders and oils to create nutritious food. This could also reduce animal slaughter, once scientists are able to “print” beef or other meat using the animal’s cells, rather than killing it. Modern Meadow is a company that plans to do just that. Read more about Modern Meadow.

NASA is also developing a 3D food printer to print pizza and other comfort foods in space. This is for the use of the astronauts, who do not have access to such foods because of shelf life. The NASA 3D printer will use powders and oils to create nutritious food, solving the shelf life problem.

The engineer of the “universal food synthesizer," for NASA, Anjan Contractor of Systems & Materials Research Corporation, told business news blog Quartz that he “envisions every kitchen having a 3d food printer to keep the planet fed. People could buy the nutritionally complete cartridges of powder and oils at the store and keep them for up to 30 years.”

“I think, and many economists think, that current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people sufficiently,” Contractor told Quartz. “So we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food,” Contractor said.