3D Printing

The rise of 3D-printed pizza

9th February 2023
Sheryl Miles

From plastic, to metal, to food – is there no limit to what a 3D printer can do?

Today is National Pizza Day – and whether you’re a plain cheese, meat or even a lesser-spotted pineapple lover, there’s a pizza and topping out there for you. Heck, there are even gluten and dairy free options, so everyone can enjoy the feeling of a freshly baked slice of warm cheesy goodness.

The method of how and where people get their pizza fix is interchangeable. For most it’s a supermarket pizza and around 15mins oven time. But perhaps a restaurant cooked pizza is more to your tastes. Or you can always make and bake your own at home.

And then there is the 3D-printed pizza.

The future of 3D printed food, according to an Allied Market Research Report, is expected to reach  $15.1 billion by 2031 – which is a 52.8% CAGR between 2022 and 2031.

Clearly, 3D printing is rapidly-growing in popularity, and the food industry hasn’t missed a beat.

Developed in 2016 with a $125,000 grant from NASA, startups, BeeHex, designed a bot that can easily turn space food from something dull to something delicious for astronauts during future Mars missions.

One year later, the startup had moved from prototype adaptation to the commercial market and raised £1 million in seed funding to create the Chef 3D.

The Chef 3D is a food printer that can print a pizza designed to any shape you want – which does give it a certain appeal. You could, for example, design a pizza heart for valentines, or a pizza star just for fun. Whatever you want, it can deliver.

The design is entered into a computer that tells the printer which dough, sauce and cheese to use. It takes one minute to print, and then it cooks in the oven for another five minutes.

Available at theme parks, sporting venues and shopping centres in the US, the 3D printed pizza is considered faster, cleaner and more consistent than that made by humans – and it tastes just as good, although not better. But it certainly won’t look as quirky as the human-made Italian staple. Goodbye uneven slices and random clumps of cheese.

However, pizza isn’t the only food on the menu for 3D printers. For less than $2,000 you can also make and bake your own biscuits. And toast. And cakes (with icing). Well, let’s just say if there is food that needs baking, you can probably 3D print it.

Meat has also been given a 3D overhaul. Printed meat has been touted as a healthier alternative to eating animals. And with companies such as Redefine Meat being championed by celebrity chefs as viable plant-based alternative that tastes just like meat, it is a movement that could see people making different choices in the future.

And now the tech is becoming more advance, the costs associated with owning a 3D printer is lessening. So who knows, perhaps one day in the future houses will replace their ovens with a printer and create food from their desks.

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