VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd is currently working on 3D food printing technologies that will allow them, in the long run, to develop high-tech vending machines providing customised healthy and nutritious snacks.
Combining expertise in food, material science in 3D printing technology, VTT has started testing starch and cellulose-based materials for 3D printed food prototypes. Moreover, scientists are working on the printability of protein concentrates of both plant and dairy origin.
“However, 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,” said Nesli Sözer, Principal Scientist at VTT.
As texture is apparently a very important driver of the perception of taste for many foods, 3D printing would easily enable to manufacture food with various distinctive textures, from crispy to soft, thanks to its layer by layer production approach. Therefore, VTT collaborated with the Aalto University on a project focused on 3D printed multi-textural food structures in a techno-economically feasible and sustainable way. Their aim is to create new ingredient mixtures that are suitable for 3D printing processes.
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