Harvard Business School: Exploring the Future of 3D Printed Foods Such as Pasta

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In the recently published ‘3D Printed Pasta – Are There Limits to the Benefits of 3D Printing in the Food Sector?’ Tom M., a student at Harvard Business School, outlines many interesting features about the potential for using new ways of manufacturing to create food.

And while most of us get pretty enthusiastic about 3D printed food simply due to an ongoing appetite both for interesting new technology and well, quite simply, the idea of snacks—there is still the question of whether such processes are worth the time and effort. Sure, we can 3D print food. But do we need to?

As part of the RC TOM Challenge, Tom explored many facets of 3D printing with food, beginning with understanding the impacts such technology is having on critical industrial areas worldwide to include aerospace, medicine, and more.

While 3D printed food is relatively new in the timeline of 3D printing, there are many benefits that make such processes attractive to companies of all sizes; in fact, the author informs us that the 3D printed food realm is projected to grow by 40 percent each year to develop into a $500 million industry by 2023.

3D printed food creations arrive in many different forms too, from niche services and boutique retailers to manufacturers studying both customized and mass production methods that may save exponential time and money.

“In applications such as chocolate or pasta, 3D printers can create unique shapes and structures by building layer by layer with a predesigned formula,” states Tom.

Pasta manufacturer Barilla is now investigating the use of 3D printers for product customization further, having already released a 3D printer for making fresh pasta in 2016, along with issuing challenges to engage consumers in the learning curve as well. Barilla is also experimenting with other customized foods related to pasta, such as those that are gluten-free.

“While additive manufacturing is still a nascent business within the food industry, companies like Barilla should continue to research and innovate with this technology in order to create long-term value,” Tom said.

“Across the globe, we are seeing rising populations and an imbalance of wealth and nutrition. We are also witnessing a global movement towards sustainability across all industries, including food production. With technology like 3D food production, we could have an opportunity to efficiently customize nutrition on a mass scale.”

Tom recommends the obvious need for further testing, along with encouraging companies like Barilla to continue the development of unique ways to face issues within food production.

“How can 3D printing technology help address dietary restrictions and nutritional deficiencies in an accessible way? How can the technology improve the efficiency of the global food market? How can it help make health and nutrition available to all?” concludes Tom with numerous questions for all to consider.

3D printing of food is an area that many users around the world enjoy experimenting with, and we enjoy learning more about—from menus for patients suffering from dysphagia to ventures into 3D printed sushi, holiday treats, and so much more.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source / Images: ‘3D Printed Pasta – Are There Limits to the Benefits of 3D Printing in the Food Sector?’]

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