This site is no longer being updated all posts are still accessible in this archive.

Sign in with your favourite social login to share, comment and pin your favourites.

Science: 

3D printed snack grows its own filling

Dinner is served (or printed.) Image via Chloé Rutzerveld.

Dinner is served (or printed.) Image via Chloé Rutzerveld.

We’ve covered 3d printed food before, but ‘delicacies’ created via printer have tended to be on the junk food end of the culinary spectrum. Given we’ve got an obesity problem right now, adding more sugar to the mix of foods for the future probably shouldn’t be the answer. Fortunately, Dutch concept designer Chloé Rutzerveld has a solution… but you might prefer to order takeout tonight.

She calls it the Edible Growth project. Everything you need for a nutritious, healthy meal can be printed, and then allowed to grow into a ‘tasty’ snack in three to five days. Within the shell, the printer sticks seeds, yeast, spores and ‘edible soil’. The crust in the prototype stage was made from insects, though the squeamish can sub this in for traditional pizza dough.

BvOF+2014_0826_EXcrop+Chloe+Rutzerveld

From printer to mouth in just three to five days.

When you eat your creation is down to personal taste. Rutzerveld explains that just like how cheese matures over time, so does each ball: “Just like Roquefort cheese, the intensity of its taste, smell and whole eating experience increases over time.” That said, they don’t look too substantial at the moment, so we’d probably get too hungry and eat a bagful before the first day was out.

So what’s the thinking behind it? It’s all about making natural and nutrient-rich food that is also sustainable while cutting down on food air-miles. The beauty of the Edible Growth project (and we think it could do with redistributing a bit of that beauty to the food itself) is that if it takes off, the notoriously wasteful way in which food is harvested and flown around the planet would be dramatically reduced.

“With Edible Growth a lot of unnecessary stages of the food chain disappear which results in a reduction of food waste, food miles and CO2 emission. At the same time the consumer will become more involved and conscious about the food they eat,” explains Rutzerveld.

“If we could produce our food this way, you can imagine that the food supply chain would shrink immensely,” she added.

DSC06857

“I’ll have mine 4-days mature, please. Easy on the edible soil.”

It’s certainly a noble concept, and if someone can take the idea and run with it, providing some more appetizing sounding fillings, it could seriously transform the way food is grown and distributed. For the short term though, we’ll guiltily continue flying in our beef from Brazil, our potatoes from China and our salad from Europe. Actually, we’ll just outsource the logistics of dinner to McDonalds.

Related Articles

[ccode]
Yes, send me the latest
ESET news

Want to receive the best stories from Go Explore on a weekly basis? Enter your email address here to subscribe

Seen something great online?
Seen something great online?