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.

3d footprinting
3D-printed color flavored sugar

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




2 responses to “3D- food printing, could it end world hunger?”

  1. laurlange says :

    Since a decade, the production of insects is considered as the solution to resolve the famine in the world. The Netherlands is one of the pioneers in the production of insect flour. However, certainly in European countries, people are not really used to eat that kind of food. The idea is a nice example of a solution to find a way to make insect food acceptable for Europe. If 3D printing will be affordable for the middle class, it will probably become a gadget, like f.e. the sodastream. Third World countries will probably only eat and use the insects in the flour form. So, I strongly believe those experiences are not as a solution to resolve the famine in the world.
    The idea of food 3D printing can also be transposed the vegetables. For a lot of parents, it is a challenge to make some unpopular vegetables gustative for children. By using those vegetables as a basis for 3D printing, it can be a helpful instrument for parents.

  2. 354737cy says :

    Really interesting topic! The 3D printing seems to be a useful tool and has lots of potential in the food industry. However, I do not think it would be able to end the world hunger as the 3D printing just makes food into another shape.

    Even if the 3D printing is creating more food, in my opinion, food scarcity is not the main problem here. Instead, we should focus more on food distribution and waste minimization. According to the instiution of mechanical engineers, there are about 2billion of food produced globally that goes uneaten every year. If this 2 billion of food is forwarded to third world countries, it would be much more of use.

    The 3D printing could be really promising in the future, but I believe that we should solve the food distribution first in order to be a step nearer to the end of world hunger.


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