Food 3D printing is not only limited to specialized startups and crowdfunding campaigns—a number of established companies in the 3D printing sector have also invested in the niche AM segment, including 3D Systems. Netherlands-based Oceanz, a professional 3D printing service, has also stepped its toe into the emerging food 3D printing area, through a collaboration with Cooperative DOOR, an independent growers association for fruit and vegetables in Holland.
The collaboration, first announced last year, aims to investigate the potential of 3D printing vegetables with the broader goal of reducing food waste. Around the globe, an estimated one-third of all food produced is wasted—a shocking statistic that has inspired members of the food industry and consumers to seek out innovative solutions. 3D printing has presented a possible avenue for curbing food waste.
Oceanz and Cooperative DOOR, for their part, have been exploring how various ingredients can be adapted for 3D printing. As Martijn Kesteloo, Business Development Manager at Cooperative DOOR, explained:
“In order to process the volumes to the maximum and work towards 100% use of the produced product volumes, Cooperative DOOR has set out various projects to reduce food waste from primary production. They started years ago to dry tomato wedges for usage in restaurants & catering. With rejected tomatoes they created a base for tomato spread/ tapenade and to take it a step further, the investigation to find new ways of 3D printing food. With the use of 3D printing, Cooperative DOOR wants to realize one of their sustainability goals ‘100% usage of its produced products’.”
The research conducted between the two partners is ongoing and aims to contribute to the growing food 3D printing landscape. In the Netherlands, the niche AM segment has taken off in an exciting way. byFlow, arguably one of the most promising food 3D printing companies, is based in the Netherlands and recently announced it would be ramping up production of its food 3D printer in partnership with VDL Groep. Another Dutch startup, UPPRINTING FOOD, is dedicated to reusing common food waste—such as bread and produce—to print dehydrated edible snacks.
“Many 3D food printing projects now have a certain ‘fun element’, but in the end we head off to a professional 3D food printing market,” said Erik van der Garde, CEO of Oceanz in reference to its collaboration with DOOR. “It is clear that we all will be dealing with 3D printed food in the future.”