Could 3D-printed food be the next step for cooking? Sure looks like it.

To the relief of lazy cooks everywhere, there is a machine that can do it for you. 3D printing is already changing the way we make certain objects – including an entire building in Dubai – but soon enough we could be 3D printing food.

XYZprinting have already taken on the standard 3D printing sector and now it’s aiming to lure us through our stomachs with its first prototype 3D printer for food.

So what is a 3D food printer?

Food printers work pretty much the same as standard 3D printers, creating layers of food mixture from the bottom up.
3D printers we’ve seen so far use fused deposition modelling (FDM), which melts down plastic filament and passes it through a nozzle. In the case of 3D food printing, XYZprinting’s prototype uses cartridges of food mix which are pumped through a nozzle.

What can you make with the printer?

At the moment, the prototype machine can print chocolate and dough – although they’re working on adding more ingredients. With them, you can create cookies, pizzas, cake decorations and confectionaries.

How does the 3D food printer work?

Printed food
(SNAPPA)

Load the cartridges into the XYZprinting machine and select the shape or form you want. There are pre-programmed designs on the machine, but you can also download others from XYZprinting’s free library and load them on to the machine with a USB stick. It’s pretty easy to pop the cartridges in and the interface is simple enough too. Before you know it, the machine gets working on its own, crafting food that isn’t rough round the edges.

How does it look and taste?

Delicious, apparently. You can create biscuits that look and taste better than many you buy in supermarkets and specialist stores.

When can I get one?

XYZprinting’s 3D printer is currently still just a prototype, but the company aims to make it commercially available by the end of the year. Pricing hasn’t been confirmed, but if XYZprinting’s other 3D printer products are anything to go by, it’ll be among the lowest price you can find.