The Edible Growth project makes printing healthy snacks a reality

Mar 3, 2015 at 3:22 p.m. ET
Image: Chloé Rutzerveld/Edible Growth Project

Will we all be printing our own food in the future? Yes, if food concept designer Chloé Rutzerveld has anything to do with it.

She has taken 3-D food-printing technology to another level with the invention of a self-growing, healthy snack that contains all the nutrients the body needs. The product consists of several layers, with an outer shell of pastry crust, embedded with seeds, yeast and spores. It takes up to five days for the plants and fungi to mature and the yeast to ferment the solid inside into a liquid, and then it's ready to eat.

"The Edible Growth project is about creating a fully edible ecosystem with living organisms in which the base gets printed by a 3-D printer and gradually develops towards a fully fledged dish," explains Rutzerveld in a video on her website.

3D food printing from The Edible Growth Project

Photo credit: Chloé Rutzerveld/Edible Growth project

By combining nature, science, technology and design, Edible Growth produces food that's completely natural, healthy and sustainable by utilizing natural processes like fermentation and photosynthesis and keeping the use of resources to a minimum.

It's also, of course, very high-tech. "It shows that high-tech food doesn't have to be unhealthy or unnatural," said Rutzerveld. "It can actually have a lot of advantages. The printer is not only used as a kind of shaping machine in which material A gets in and also comes out in another shape, but it is used to create innovative food that truly contributes to solving the world's food problems."

Rutzerveld also highlights the potential of the Edible Growth project to help the consumer become more involved and conscious about the food they eat.

The project hasn't yet moved beyond the stages of research and development due to financial and technological constraints, but it has made a promising start, and once 3-D printing technology catches up, who knows what we could be printing (and eating)?

"Right now Edible Growth is really a future food concept that inspires scientists, designers and cooks to think about the future of our food," says Rutzerveld.

3D food printing from the Edible Growth Project

Photo credit: Chloé Rutzerveld/Edible Growth project

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