3D food printing an innovative way of mass customization in food fabrication

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Jie Sun, Zhuo Peng, Liangkun Yan, Jerry Ying Hsi Fuh, Geok Soon Hong


About 15-25% of aging population suffers from swallowing difficulties, and this creates an increasing market need for food mass customization. Food industry is investigating mass customization techniques to meet individual needs on taste, nutrition and mouthfeel. Three dimensional (3D) food printing is a potential solution to overcome drawbacks of current food customization techniques such as lower production efficiency and high manufacturing cost. This study introduces the first generation food printer concept designs and functional prototypes that target to revolutionize customized food fabrication by 3D printing (3DP). Different from robotics-based food manufacturing technologies designed to automate manual processes for mass production, 3D food printing integrates 3DP and digital gastronomy technique to customize food products. This introduces artistic capabilities into domestic cooking, and extends customization capabilities to industrial culinary sector. Their applications in domestic cooking or catering services can not only provide an engineering solution for customized food design and personalized nutrition control, but also have potential to reconfigure customized food supply chains.

In this paper, the selected prototypes are reviewed based on fabrication platforms and printing materials. A detailed discussion on specific 3DP technologies and their associate dispensing/printing process for 3D customized food fabrication with single and multi-material applications are reported. Lastly, impacts of food printing on customized food fabrication, personalized nutrition, food supply chain, and food processing technologies are reported and discussed.


customized food fabrication; mass customization, 3D printing; platform design; multi-material

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18063/IJB.2015.01.006


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