- Title: SPAIN-3D FOOD PRINTER 3D food printer serves up dishes at the push of a button
- Date: 18th December 2014
- Summary: MONITOR SHOWING PRINTING PROCESS
- Embargoed: 2nd January 2015 12:00
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA7TOHA54XY9XXHFFOVQVTBCFMV
- Story Text: A new kitchen appliance that lets users create food dishes at the push of a button has been developed by Spanish company Natural Machines. Using their 3D food printer, the company hopes to encourage people to create attractive looking dishes that are also healthier than other pre-prepared meals.
The 'Foodini' 3D food printer uses an open capsule design, meaning the chef prepares and places fresh ingredients in the machine. Users first choose the recipe they want to print, with Foodini then instructing what food to put in each capsule, and then printing can begin.
Foodini is designed to simplify the difficult and time-consuming parts of food preparation that discourage people from cooking at home, according to its designer.
"With consumers, we are printing with fresh, real wholesome food, so rather than going to the supermarket and buying those packages of pre-processed, pre-made foods that have artificial ingredients, preservatives and additives, chemical sounding ingredient names, we want people to come back to the kitchen and make those foods with fresh ingredients. And 3D food printing can help with the food forming assembling these foods," said Natural Machines co-founder and CMO Lynette Kucsma.
Using the same principle as regular 3D printers that dispense a thin layers of plastic to build up solid designs, the 'Foodini' deploys edible ingredients squeezed out of stainless steel capsules. Its most recent version mixes up to five different ingredients, each one put in individually heated capsules that do not retain scent or food flavour. They also have different sizes of valves at the end of the capsules in order to print more precisely.
Sonia Hurtado, a food technologist who works at Natural Machines in Barcelona, showed the internal process of the Foodini machine with a prototype model, and said the easy software in it would mean anyone could use it.
"This is a 3D food printer. You can see it prints with food. In this case we are using a couple of ingredients and it prints layer by layer. That is how it gets the height of the object. In our case we are printing a butterfly design. We have done it ourselves, but users can also download it on the net and that is it. It is easy, just about preparing the ingredients, putting them in the printer and clicking "print" when you have the object, the design prepared."
The latest version of 'Foodini' will have a touchscreen on the front that connects to an online recipe site, with users able to share their recipes with the fellow 'Foodini' chefs around the world. The makers also plan to allowed the machine to be controlled remotely using a smartphone, meaning you could have a meal ready to eat when you get home from work.
Shoppers in London were intrigued at the prospect of 3D printed food, though some felt the dishes may lack a personal, human touch.
"I think the thing about is, people actually like cooking these days. The problem I find is that I don't have much time but that's why things like Christmas are quite nice. People always used to complain about having to do the people for 25 people on Christmas day, but these days it's quite a treat because you actually get to spend some time in the kitchen and cook stuff for family and friends. I'm not sure presenting something that you've 3D printed would necessarily be the... you know," said one shopper in London.
Another said she was happy to sample to food, though not any 3D printed meat dishes: "Well I'm a vegan, so not a burger. But I would have to try it. Yeah, I would try it... probably."
The company expect to launch 'Foodini' commercially in the second half of 2015 at a projected retail price of around 1,000 dollars.
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