A 3D printer in your kitchen for fun and healthy eating
The company Natural Machines has created the Foodini, a 3D printer which will create original and healthy dishes once its cartridges have been filled with fresh ingredients.
Walking into a kitchen to find an oven, a microwave and a blender no longer surprises anyone. Technological developments have paved the way for new gadgets which make our cooking easier and more efficient. Now there are new options on the table, to make our cooking more innovative and to transform our culinary creative spaces into smart kitchens. One of these inventions is the 3D food printer.
This ambitious idea is no longer the stuff of science fiction, something we might see in the TV series Star Trek. It is now a reality. The company Natural Machines has created the Foodini, a smart kitchen device which prints dishes in 3D, creating shapes with great precision. “Although the idea sounds far-fetched, it’s not if we think about the processed food we buy and eat from the supermarket which may as well have been prepared in the same way as printed food”, explains the co-founder and CMO of Natural Machines, Lynette Kucsma.
Indeed, Kucsma and her colleagues have a vision for “people to go back to their kitchens and cook with real, fresh ingredients, and to stop consuming so much processed food”. That is why the Foodini’s cartridges are empty, allowing every cook to fill them with whichever ingredients they like. This also makes the printer a universal device, which can be adapted to the local gastronomy of every region.
But do we really need this innovation? Kucsma answers: “Of course there are novel elements to it: we can print fun shapes and present beautiful dishes. But additionally, it is important for the presentation of the dish to be attractive because we judge food by its appearance, thus deciding whether it is appetising or not”. The other challenge for Natural Machines is to help children eat more healthily, with dishes which look different and appetising. It can also benefit those who have difficulty swallowing or who are unwell to better ingest food.
Kucsma was a speaker at the latest edition of EmTechEurope2018, organised by MIT Technology Review in Spanish, where she presented the printer and showed that the futuristic-looking microwave-like machine produces interesting and appetising dishes.
So when will we have these printers in our homes? The Foodini can already be bought for 3,600 euros, and Kucsma predicts that “in 10 to 15 years, food printers will become another vital cooking gadget”. But let’s not go overboard and imagine that 100% of our food will be produced by one of these machines, as noted by the creator: “Not everything will be cooked with a printer, in the same way as we don’t cook everything with an oven nowadays!”.