Vending machines to deliver customised snacks
The production of customised snacks is being investigated by researchers at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The aim is to develop vending machines to 3D print snacks to individual consumer design.
In its initial trials, VTT tested starch and cellulose-based materials for 3D food prototypes. It is also working on printability of protein concentrates of both plant (oat and faba bean) and dairy (whey protein) 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.
Texture is an important driver of the taste perception of many food products and is behind many successful innovations. Brands are creatively combining textures with features such as crispy inclusions, soft centres and extra-crunchy toppings. 3D printing technology will enable the layer-by-layer manufacture of various structures, from crispy to soft gels that produce a distinctive mouthfeel.
3D food printing is an emerging and developing technology, with a great deal of active research ongoing.
Creating ingredient mixes with flow properties
A specific aim of the partners is to create new ingredient mixes with suitable flow properties for 3D processing. The project will develop globally competitive expertise in 3D food printing technologies with subsequent technology innovations to be utilised by Finnish industries from various sectors such as ingredients, food processing, equipment manufacturing, software and online services and retail.
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