3D printers will make food in the future; the not too distant future. Natural Machines, the maker of Foodini, a 3D food printer, had a successful kickstarter program. The company believes that their product will be as revolutionary to the kitchen as the microwave was back in the 1970's.
They see their product as a way for people to easily make nutritious home made meals quickly and easily, eliminating the need to buy processed foods for those who don't have hours to prepare their meals. Their goal is to make healthy, nutritious meals using fresh ingredients.
You may be familiar with 3D printers already, apparently, this product isn't too different from a regular 3D printer, but instead of printing with plastics, it deploys edible ingredients squeezed out of stainless steel capsules: "It's the same technology," says Lynette Kucsma, co-founder of Natural Machines, "but with plastics there's just one melting point, whereas with food it's different temperatures, consistencies and textures. Also, gravity works a little bit against us, as food doesn't hold the shape as well as plastic."
Foodini, which raised $80, 279 on Kickstarter, looks to create a 3-D food printer for the consumer market.
Production systems are also advancing from initiatives such as NASA’s project to print food in deep space; SMRC, a NASA contractor, created pizzas and chocolate from processes integrating dry and liquid ingredients. Cornell University’s Creative Machines lab and TNO in the Netherlands are working on food material properties. As TVO’s Kjeid van Bommel points out, there will be an appetite for new tastes, textures and designs from this style of food preparation.
Established players in the food industry need to understand the potential impact of this technology on their business and how the ecosystem will evolve, where software will replace recipes, and the Internet of Things will connect all aspects of the “cooking” cycle to consumers.
The kitchen will for sure be a very different place in 10 years.
"In essence, this is a mini food manufacturing plant shrunk down to the size of an oven," Kucsma said, pointing out that at least in the initial stage the printer will be targeted mostly at professional kitchen users, with a consumer version to follow, at a projected retail price of around $1,000.
In principle, the Foodini sounds like the ultimate laziness aid: press a button to print your ravioli. But Natural Machines is quick to point out that it's designed to take care only of the difficult and time-consuming parts of food preparation that discourage people from cooking at home, and that it promotes healthy eating by requiring fresh ingredients prepared before printing.
Nevertheless, the company is working with major food manufacturers to create pre-packaged plastic capsules that can just be loaded into the machine to make food, even though they assure these will be free of preservatives, with a shelf life limited to five days.
The printing process is slow, but faster than regular 3D printing. Other than being capable of creating complex designs, such as very detailed cake decorations or food arranged in unusual shapes, the Foodini can be useful for recipes that require precision and dexterity, like homemade pizza or filled pasta.
We are really excited to announce that Foodini will ship with built-in 3D scanner hardware. We’ve been working with our partners for quite some time to have this hardware installed in the first shipping units of Foodini, and today we can confirm that it will definitely be included.
With a built-in 3D scanner, you can:
- Scan an object, then save the resulting digital shape and print it (using chocolate, for example).
- Scan an object, such as a dish, or a cupcake, and print on top of it. Great for plate decorations or adding decorations on food already made.
The 3D scanner will have a resolution of 0.1mm.
If you have already pledged for a Foodini via Kickstarter or purchased Foodini via other channels, your Foodini will automatically include this 3D scanner hardware – no action is necessary on your part. This additional feature is included FREE of charge: no additional charges will be added to your pledge.
Foodini is the first 3D food printer to print all types of real, fresh, nutritious foods, from savory to sweet. Designed for home and professional kitchens, Foodini comes with empty food capsules. You prepare and place fresh, real ingredients in Foodini. No fake food. No being forced to buy pre-filled food capsules. Made with fresh ingredients, this is real food... 3D printed.
Our ethos of healthy eating and the variety of fresh ingredients we can print attracts a lot of interest. Natural Machines and Foodini have been covered enthusiastically by the media worldwide. A small sample:
“Who wants a 3D printer for just candy when you can have one that prints a five-course dinner instead?” - Engadget
"Instead of forcing people to rely on highly processed convenience food that’s larded with additives and unhealthy levels of salt, as microwave meals generally are, they want Foodini to get more people cooking with fresh ingredients, rather than reaching for that pre-processed packet." - TechCrunch
"The Foodini 3D printer will take over your repetitive cooking tasks." - Gigaom
“What it (the machine) does help with is the visuals and to create shapes that wouldn’t be possible without it.” -Michelin-starred chef
“It’s been printed out? But how is it done? It’s good! It tastes like a normal cookie!” “It’s good. It can’t be from a printer. It’s really good!” “It tastes super delicious! It’s really good.” “It’s great! The shapes are imaginative.” “Tasty. Really tasty!” “What? That’s awesome!” –People on the street taste testing 3D printed food . Some TV crews that came to visit us took our 3D printed food to the streets for a taste test. There were some people who thought the idea of 3D printed food was a bit too radical and refused to try the food. But EVERYONE who tasted 3D printed food liked it!
We were on live TV at the NASDAQ Times Square studios, appearing on CNBC's Fast Money show. Watch the segment! (April 2, 2014)
We were on live TV at the Fox Business News studios, appearing on the Varney & Co show. Watch the segment! (April 3, 2014)
Using 3D printing to eat healthier
Too many people have abandoned food made with fresh ingredients in favor of pre-made processed food with lots of preservatives and additives. Now, 3D printing technology allows us to recover healthy habits by making homemade food preparation healthy, easier, and fun!
Foodini takes on the difficult parts of making food that are hard and time consuming to make fully by hand. One of our goals is to streamline some of cooking's more repetitive activities - forming dough into fish-shaped crackers, or forming ravioli - to encourage more people to make fresh healthy foods.
We understand that a kitchen appliance that happens to be a 3D food printer is a very new concept. Please take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions on our website where you will find more than 20 questions... and associated answers!
Home Kitchen Users
Don't buy pre-processed snacks and meals. Make healthier versions of the foods you are accustomed to by using fresh ingredients and tailor them to your tastes and needs (for example, adjust ingredients for any food intolerances or allergies).
Professional Kitchen Users
Star chefs enjoy experimenting in their restaurants. Kitchen devices are always state of the art, and food has designer elements. With Foodini, combine fresh homegrown produce with modern technology to create visuals and shapes that wouldn't be possible by hand.
Foodini is a connected kitchen appliance with a community site
Foodini has a built-in touch screen on the front, and the integrated application connects to an online community site where in addition to generally available content (viewing recipes, online demos, etc.), users will have access to a personalized online recipe box (favorites), and the ability to upload and share their own recipe creations.
The community site will be viewable from the Foodini onboard touchscreen as well as your tablet, laptop, smartphone, etc. Browse recipes and create your printing layout while relaxing on your sofa.
For the tech enthusiasts who love to create applications, we are releasing APIs for 3rd parties to customize recipe applications. For example, make the perfect ravioli configurator or use mathematical models to print intricate designed shapes.
Once the user chooses the recipe they want to print, Foodini will instruct what food to put in each capsule, and then printing can begin.
Foodini is a sleek kitchen appliance that will look stylish in any kitchen, be it a home kitchen or restaurant. It arrives ready for use (plug and play). A touch-screen mini-tablet that functions as the user interface is embedded on the front of the device.
Where we are today
- Working on building, designing, and proving the concept of Foodini since 2012.
- Printing food for over a year on beta/concept/prototype/pre-production versions of Foodini.
- Working with a major manufacturing partner to ensure high product quality and reliability, and they are committed to assisting with post-sales support. Major ecosystem production partners are in place.
- Patenting and protecting Intellectual Property to ensure Foodini and the community can continue to develop and grow, and allows us to continue innovating in the 3D food printer space.
- Bootstrapping the company, so we are very mindful of running a lean team and watching where every dollar goes... we will continue to do that with any Kickstarter support we receive.
- Receiving interest from over 40 countries enquiring about purchasing Foodini, for use in both home and professional kitchens.
We are ready for industrialization with your support. Kickstarter will enable us to produce an initial manufacturing run (early access/pre-series model; limited production run), subsequent first mass production run, and build out the community site to advanced levels.
Together with your support, we can all bring Foodini into kitchens worldwide faster than would be able to otherwise. Some people have told us that the kitchen hasn't seen any major breakthroughs since the microwave, and Foodini could be it. Be a part of the next kitchen revolution!