3D food printing

Innovation in food and agriculture has come a long way in the past century, resulting in the production of more food than ever before. However, the food industry is facing new challenges due to rapid societal changes: in 2040 there will be 9 billion people to feed; there is an increasing demand for personalized, nutritious, and healthy food; and food production should be done in an affordable way without harming the environment. Radical innovations are required to meet the demands of the near future. Digital food production like 3D printing and processing technologies are an important source of innovation in this respect.

  • 3D Food Printing

Innovative manufacturing process

3D food printing is an innovative manufacturing process. A complete 3D object is built up layer by layer, based on a 3D computer design, and without the use of moulds or assembly steps. 3D printing was initially used in the manufacturing industry, where materials like metals and plastics were used. However, over the past years a much wider range of printable materials and thus applications have emerged. Over the last years Wageningen Food & Biobased Research and TNO have been jointly developing and applying 3D printing technologies in food production. In multiple international research projects we have shown great potential for the layer wise building of food products. The 3D food products are well-structured and based on multiple materials by using different types of base ingredients. 3D printing has the unique capability to use precise amounts of materials in very specific 3D locations. It gives food manufacturers the opportunity to make improved or even completely new food products with novel shapes, textures, structures, and flavours.

3D food processing research program

In order to accelerate and facilitate the application of 3D food printing, Wageningen University & Research has joined forces with, TNO and Eindhoven University of Technology, within the Digital Food Processing Initiative (DFPI). This cooperative venture provides companies with insights into all sorts of possibilities, including co-development, ‘living labs’, proof-of-concepts and (national or international) consortium projects. Companies can find out what these new technologies offer and draw up business cases with experts, allowing them to be at the forefront of a radical redefinition of the way we view, produce and process food.

With its unique combined expertise under one roof, the Digital Food Processing Initiative (DFPI) supports industry, research and authorities with knowledge on food and high-tech systems. This enables ideas to be more easily translated into market-ripe products.

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