Italian company Barilla is looking to equip restaurants with 3D food printers, allowing customers to design, print their own custom pasta. Barilla has been working with TNO Eindhoven in the Netherlands for the past couple of years to develop a suitable food 3D printer.
Kjeld van Bommel, project leader at TNO, says that a number of experimental 3D food printers have already been installed in a few restaurants in Eindhoven. The two companies hope that 2014 will be a big year for food printing and they are planning to move into the international market. It will probably be some time before the two companies bring out a 3D printer intended for home use.
While Barilla and TNO have made significant progress over the years, their food printer still needs some refinement.”We are working on improving the speed of the printer” said Bommel. Since development started”the print speed now is ten times faster than when we started two years ago.”
3D Food printer’s will let dinners and customers make any shape they want. Bommel said”For example, you could surprise your wife with pasta in the shape of a rose for your marriage anniversary. You can simply save your design in a USB and bring it to the restaurant. The 3D food printer there will print it on site.”
Eventually Barilla sees a future where you fill up the food printer via dough cartridges similar to current inkjet printers. This is because companies tend to make more money on supplying cartridges rather than printers.
Barilla is one of Italy’s leading food groups and is a world leader for pasta. It is the first large food corporation to see the potential in 3D printing food and they expect that food printers will become a mass market device that is found in every kitchen.