From 3D printed cheesecake to vegan calamari, alternative foods are on the menu as scientists are now showing us what may be in store for the future of dining. Could 3D printing save us from too many pots and pans with a pinch of technology?
Just this month, researchers at the American Chemical Society revealed that they have developed a new approach for simulating seafood. After combining two types of sustainable plant-based proteins, they used a 3D printer to create the shape of rings and give them a variety of textures to mimic real calamari. After placing the faux calamari in an air fryer, the result was a crispy seafood alternative.
Not a seafood fan? 3D printed desserts are also on the research menu: In March, researchers at Columbia Engineering's Creative Machines Lab fabricated a seven-ingredient vegan cheesecake with a 3D printer. Their findings, published in Nature, highlight some appetizing benefits of 3D food creations.
“Constructing edible meals via AM [additive manufacturing]—rather than by hand—gives us the ability to localize flavors and textures on a millimeter-scale to create new food experiences,” they noted. “We also see other important uses for 3D food printing, creating alternatives to bland, unattractive pureed foods for those with swallowing and other digestive disorders.”
Additive manufacturing (AM)—a term applied to 3D printing industrial processes—can mass-produce products for a number of fields, including aerospace, defense, and medical, among others. While AM in food production began in 2007, it may take still take a while for 3D printed foods to become a widely accepted reality—for consumers and the food industry alike.
Standards and the 3D Printing Evolution
From the medical field to 3D printed houses, and now, courses on the menu, opportunities for 3D printing keep growing. A number of standards support the evolution of the 3D printing industry, with just a few examples:
ISO/IEC 3532-1:2023, Information technology - Medical image-based modelling for 3D printing - Part 1: General requirements, specifies the requirements for medical image-based modelling for 3D printing for medical applications. It concerns accurate 3D data modelling in the medical field using medical image data generated from computed tomography (CT) devices. It also specifies the principal considerations for the general procedures of medical image-based modelling. It excludes soft tissue modelling from magnetic resonance image (MRI).
The document was prepared by the Joint Technical Committee of the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission, ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology. The U.S. plays a leading role in JTC 1, with ANSI serving as Secretariat and 39 national bodies participating.
To support design and construction, UL Solutions has published UL 3401 Ed. 2-2022, Outline of Investigation for 3D Printed Building Construction. This standard covers the evaluation of building elements (including, but not limited to panels, walls, partitions, floor-ceilings, roofs, columns, and beams) and structures that are fabricated using an AM or 3D printing process.
Another standard published by UL Solutions, UL 2904 Ed. 2-2023, Standard Method for Testing and Assessing Particle and Chemical Emissions from 3D Printers, presents methodologies for characterizing and quantifying coarse, fine, and ultrafine particles and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from operating three-dimensional (3D) printers under normal conditions of use in defined indoor environments including classroom, office, and residential scenarios.
Access more information about ANSI’s efforts in this space through the America Makes & ANSI Additive Manufacturing Standardization Collaborative (AMSC), launched in 2016. In July 2023, the AMSC published the Standardization Roadmap for Additive Manufacturing, Version 3.0. The roadmap describes the current and desired future standardization landscape for additive manufacturing (AM), and focuses on industrial market sectors using AM technologies.