- CSM Bakery Solutions and 3D Systems Corporation are working together on the development, sale and distribution of 3-D printers, products and materials for the food industry, according to Baking Business.
- CSM will support the development of 3D Systems’ ChefJet Pro 3D printer for colorful food products used in professional culinary environments, according to a company press release. CSM also will have exclusive rights for the ChefJet printer.
- “Our agreement with 3D Systems has the potential to reshape the food industry. Across a number of industries, 3-D printing has helped transform industries, and there’s every reason to think the same can be true for the food industry,” Marianne Kirkegaard, president and chief executive officer of CSM, said in a statement.
The partnership between CSM Bakery Solutions and 3D Systems Corporation has the potential to be a great success for both companies.
If this collaboration results in a safe, affordable, easy-to-use 3-D printer for baked goods, it could be a significant turning point for baked good manufacturers. There is no specific goal described beyond creating a printer, products, and materials for ‘professional culinary environment,’ so its unclear whether this new technology would benefit baked good giants such as Pepperidge Farm, owned by Campbell Soup Company, restaurants chains, or professional bakers.
3-D printing has the potential to change the food industry. If printers became as affordable, sanitary and common as microwaves, they could drastically alter the way consumers prepare meals. 3-D printers also can be a useful tool for food manufacturers, when it comes to R&D.
PepsiCo has already started using 3-D food printing to create plastic prototypes of different shaped and colored potato chips to show consumer focus groups. Using a prototype, as opposed to just a picture, has helped them reportedly get a more accurate response from participants. Barilla sponsored a contest to create a 3-D printed pasta, selecting a design that blooms into a rose shape when boiled. Oreo has also used 3-D printers to create cookies with customizable creme patterns and flavors.
The market for 3-D printed food is expected to reach $425 million by 2025. North America is expected to hold the largest share of the market in 2018. For now, customized chocolate and cakes are the largest segments in the printed food market, and they are expected to see the most significant growth. Printed food also could see increased demand as a way to deliver nutrient-rich foods to the elderly, disaster relief victims and military servicemen and women.
All research and development of 3-D food printing, including the information that will come from CSM Bakery Solutions and 3D Systems Corporation, aims at allowing this technology to be more widely used in the food industry. The U.S. military has already seen the great potential it has for feeding troops. A food technologist at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts says that by 2025 or 2030, the military could potentially be using 3-D printing to customize meals that are tailored to a soldier’s particular needs.
There are still a number of obstacles to overcome. The largest problem appears to be food safety. In order to produce food that is both edible and safe, food-safe materials need to be used for both the actual food and anything that touches it in the printing process. In addition, a plate or food container that is printed also would have to be made of food-safe materials.
Even if these materials were found, they would need to be specifically formulated for the ingredients a consumer or manufacturer would use. For example, a high-acid tomato sauce could have a problematic affect on a plastic bowl. If businesses researching 3-D printing can find safe materials to use, expect the new technology to take off. But for now, researchers have their work cut out for them finding these materials, and convincing more kitchens and businesses to use them.