3D printed food is currently in its infancy. And it’s pretty grim. If you do get the chance to try it, you’ll probably be eating a sloppy pizza or weird chocolate shapes. But amazing things are coming.
A Dutch industrial design student called Chloé Rutzerveld has come up with something totally unique. Rutzerveld calls it her Edible Growth Project. It’s a simple idea but amazingly intelligent and could change the way we eat. So what is this revolutionary new food? Rutzerveld has designed a 3D printed biscuit with seeds in it. A 3D food printer prints the biscuit base, then the biscuit is left for a day or two. The biscuit acts like soil and the food “sprouts” in it.
Says Rutzerveld, “Edible growth is a future food concept that forms the bridge between new technologies and authentic practices of growing and breeding food. New technologies have always influenced our eating habits, food supply chains, preparation methods and introduced entirely new food products to the market. With the rise of more high-tech food and new production methods consumers are becoming increasingly more concerned about the quality and ‘realness’ of the food and their health.
“So why are we using additive manufacturing techniques to create fancy shapes of chocolate, sugar and dough? Starting from this critical view, I made it my mission to find a way to use this technology to create healthy, functional food. Food that could contribute in solving world food problems and environmental issues.
“The consumer becomes the farmer and will be more involved in the production of their food, without spending a lot of time gardening. The farmer will become the supplier of the raw materials.”
While Rutzerveld hasn’t got the huge investment cash that other experimental projects have, it is another example of the move away from conventional farming. Yes we still need the “base ingredients” for the printer to make the biscuit base. But, the idea is tantalising. Self-grown fresh food that doesn’t need to be transported hundreds of kilometres is a very tempting idea.
Because only the raw materials have to be delivered, the food production chain is very short. Produce does not need to be transported from the field to distribution centre and eventually to the consumer. It’s printed directly and on demand.
Most of all, Rutzerveld wants people to eat better. The idea of a biscuit full of fungi may not appeal to everyone. But we should all give it a try, because you never know, this may end up being the start of something beautiful.