3D and Lab-Grown Foods Gaining Ground on More Traditional Fare. But Are They Safe?

By Jaan Koel

Because of the unique food safety and other benefits it provides, 3D food printing is revolutionizing food production, and sales are expected to grow to USD $425 million by 2025, up 55% over 2018’s tally.

The technology is currently being used to create chocolate and bakery products, such as puddings, custards, and purées, but banana and carrot concoctions are also possible. The process involves reducing food to a mush, then forcing it through a series of brass or stainless-steel nozzles that pass back and forth over a surface—like the head of an inkjet printer does—in response to a computer program. Ultra-thin layers of material are traced on top of each other, to build the food from the bottom up.

The process has a number of advantages over traditional food processing techniques, including the ability to:
• formulate new and unusual food shapes and sizes
• deliver personalized nutrition and
• create customized textures

It’s also being developed for new protein-rich foods such as algae, beet leaves, and even insects.

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