3D- food printing, could it end world hunger?
“Cooking is not chemistry, it’s an art”. Thanks to 3D food printing this quote by Marcel Boulestin no longer holds.
Printing in 3D works by slowly depositing one layer of material on top of the other. When this process is continued for a longer period an object will be constructed. This process is called ‘additive manufacturing.’ It offers a range of potential benefits since it can be healthy, better for the environment and even better, it can help to convert algae, beet leaves or even insects into proteins.
As for many other products we owe this product to investments done by NASA. NASA’s project Mars One is a foundation that is trying to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. ‘The next giant leap for mankind’, how NASA calls it, will begin with sending people to Mars, one way no return, in 2026. Since your stay will be indefinite NASA invested $125,000 in a mechanical engineer called Anjan Contractor, to develop a food synthesizer to feed astronauts in space.
A machine that can produce food that will have shelf lives up to 30 years will not only reduce the environmental impact but it will also offer a renewable form of sustaining a growing world population. 30 years may sound unbelievable, because I don’t want to make it too geeky here check out the articles at the bottom of my post for further reading on how they make it.
Planet earth has a growing population that is estimated to reach a staggering 9,725 million human beings by the end of 2050. Therefore, I think there is a much more relevant application for printing food right here. Besides a growing population, at this moment 923 million people go to bed undernourished and every 6 seconds a young kid dies because of innutrition. If this printing technique will be able to be further developed, we might decrease these numbers. As long as these cartridges contain powder with the right proportions of carbs, proteins, sugars and vitamins we no longer need animals or vegetables to feed us.
Will this innovation be able to end world hunger? This will still be based on economic reasons, how affordable would this adaptive manufacturing technology be? How do you get it in every household? And how expensive would it be to produce these powders to print with? One thing is for sure they made a great first step in proving technology might solve the problem!
Are you convinced 3D food printing might solve world hunger?
Hadhazy, 2013. ‘Will 3D Printers Manufacture Your Meals?’ http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/a8816/will-3d-printers-manufacture-your-meals-15265101/, accessed march 26, 2013
Wiggers, 2015. ‘Why 3D food printing is more than just a novelty — it’s the future of food’, http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/3d-food-printers-how-they-could-change-what-you-eat/#/2, accessed april 26, 2015
Peckham, 2013. ‘NASA-Funded 3D Food Printer: Could It End World Hunger?’, http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/05/24/nasa-funded-3d-food-printer-could-it-end-world-hunger, accessed may 24, 2013