Should we end hunger in the world with 3d printed food?

By 22/05/2013October 13th, 20203D Printing

I read in Quartz the article “The audacious plan to end hunger with 3d printed food” and cannot avoid smiling with the future presented about 3d printed food.

3D Printing has definitely become a hype. We can even offer it as the solution to end hunger in the world, even in population growth scenarios.

Well,

3D printing does NOT create anything, it gives form to materials.

Sure, it will let us eat matter that we would never eat before, like proteins from insects. We eat through sight, says a Spanish idiom.

But nothing we couldn’t do giving form through other means. Just molds.

It makes sense to me that NASA uses this technology in long space trips, since they can keep the ingredients dehydrated and separated, perfectly fit for the moment you need to consume them. The 3d printer will mix/cook them and add the moisture or other needed elements.

But from there, moving to bake pizzas?

Food 3d printer

Food 3d printer

Food is already used for 3d printing. In fact you can already buy a commercial home printer that prints chocolate.

There are other home-made options, such as what Luis Rodriguez does, a colleague from the meetup group 3D Print Barcelona. It is all about having an adequate extruder (and some other pieces). The working mechanism is the same: FDM. Deposition of matter in layers to create objects.

Gelatina impresa en 3D
Printed jellybean – photo extracted from Luis blog

I’m quite skeptical about the solution. Coming from a Mediterranean culture very focused on food, I don’t buy untasty food in nice shapes just with a short set of standard ingredients.

Cooking is time, it’s the appropriate mix of ingredients, it’s the cooking time for each one, and finally presentation. However, this is what I care less provided food is good.

So, it is in presentation where I see the biggest potential for 3d printers. But they will not solve hunger in the world by themselves. This fully relies on our change of feeding patterns. Starting by a reduction in meat consumption (disclaimer: I am NOT a veggie 😉 )

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