Food printers unveiled at technology show

TWO 3D printers with the capability to print using chocolate or infused sugar, have been unveiled at the Consumer Electrics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.


The ‘food printers’ will be launched later this year and can create confectionery in shapes that would otherwise be difficult to produce using traditional techniques


The machines were developed by 3D Systems after it took over a Californian start-up in September.


By customising an existing 3d printer the firm was able to create its ‘food-safe’ Chefjet models, the larger of which can produce multi-coloured photo quality images for use on cakes or other surfaces.


Both models can print using chocolate, or sugar infused with vanilla, mint, sour apple, cherry and watermelon flavours.


The designs are built using a layer-by-layer printing process.


Sweets are created by spreading a fine layer of the flavoured sugar, and then painting water on top using a jet print head to turn the substance into hardened crystals.The process is then repeated to make the resulting edible objects, which can even have moving parts.


The firm is also releasing Digital Cookbook, an app to help customers effectively use the machines.


Following the creation of lab grown meat – otherwise known as the ‘frankenburger’ – some questions are likely to be raised over this new food production method, as Spanish and British start-ups also bring to market food printers. However, with a $10,000 (roughly £6,000) price tag for the machine alone it is unlikely consumers will be printing their own sweets just yet.