Italian food company Barilla and The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) have collaborated on the development of a prototype 3D pasta printer.
Described as a “world first”, the printer is capable of producing pasta in unique shapes and is currently able to print every four elements every two minutes. The printed pasta is prepared using the classic durum wheat, semolina and water formulation – and so is no different to regularly produced pasta.
Although the printer is not yet commercially available, TNO has said that it boasts “tremendous potential”. The company claimed that there was a role for the technology in the development of new products, or the reformulation of existing products for shape, structure, texture or levels of ingredients such as salt or sugar. In addition, food can be customised so that it precisely fits the needs and preferences of individual consumers with respect to content, form, shape and taste.
A spokesperson for TNO said: “3D food-printing could be a key factor in the quest to use new raw materials and develop new products, generating significant opportunities for the food industry, reducing waste and residue streams, promoting healthy and fresh products, and enhancing the fun of the food experience.
“And, of course, the printer can ensure that your personalised meal is made at exactly the right moment so that when you come home, a fresh, healthy meal is waiting for you. This convenience can lead to flexible, decentralised production.”
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