Food on Demand

Future Vending Machines Could 3D Print Your Snacks

Vending Machines

Researchers in Finland are developing vending machines that can fabricate 3D printed snacks and treats to order.

Scientists at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland are developing “advanced food manufacturing technologies” for vending machines.

Their long term goal is to develop high-tech machines with 3D printing technology that can serve up personalized food to order.

The benefit of using 3D printing is not just that it offers new opportunities to reinvent design and presentation, but also convenience food that can be healthy and nutritious, too.

In their initial trials, VTT has tested starch and cellulose-based materials for 3D food prototypes. In addition, the team are also working on the printability of protein concentrates of both plant (oat and faba bean) and dairy (whey protein) origin.

vending machines

Vending Machines a Driver for Domestic 3D Food Printing?

Nesli Sözer, Principal Scientist at VTT, says: “A great deal of work is needed in order to proceed to industrial-scale production. Equipment needs to be developed in addition to materials. Such equipment could be developed for domestic 3D food printing as well as vending machines.”

Coordinated by VTT in collaboration with the Aalto University, the project aims to 3D print “multi-textural food structures in a techno-economically feasible and sustainable way.”

In terms of taste perception, texture is an extremely important factor, and is the main driver behind many successful innovations — would you choose a slimy lump of goo over a packet of crisps?

To make sure food is perfect for consumers to want to eat, brands are creatively combining textures with features such as crispy inclusions, soft centres, and extra-crunchy toppings.

Hopefully soon, additive manufacturing technology will be able to 3D print your favorite snacks, including the crispy or sweet fillings, to make your mouth water. In the meantime, check out our story on the Magic Candy Factory in Berlin.

(Via: Science Daily)

vending machines