Did you know we’re 3D printing food now?

By 2020, scientists are saying we’ll be able to successfully 3D print our food. This will be used first and foremost, and perhaps exclusively, by the military in the beginning stages of the process, so they can get the nutrition they need whenever and wherever they are.

In a collaborative study by Jiangnan University in China, the University of Queensland in Australia, and the Guangdong Galore Food Co. Ltd in China, scientists are currently working with potato starch and lemon gels as the base for their 3D-printed food.

3d-printing-food
via LWT – Food Science and Technology

Excitement turns to…

This is very exciting news! Perhaps now we won’t have to burden the earth itself with our problems of overpopulation. That would be your initial thought, right? We could save the pigs! We could ask the friendly, old farmers to leave their former lives and find some a more mind-numbing job to do, which would only serve to increase their blood pressure, anxiety, and general confusion as to why the rest of the world lives on piles of goop…

I’ve had experience 3D printing things, like a tiny plastic tree for example. It is about 2 inches tall, with a base of 2 inches in diameter. It took about 2 hours to complete, I believe. Granted, I might have used an old machine, but I’m wondering about the viability of a machine that 3D prints food. Are there 3D printers that do this exclusively?

Skepticism… 

Call me stodgy and a little nostalgic, but I’m skeptical about 3D printing food. It seems cool and all, but heading toward my 30s, I’m only just beginning to understand where food comes from and how… As it is now. Also, if we’re printing in the same printers we use to print… tiny trees, will we end up eating a few bits of plastic in the process? There must be a cleaning mechanism…

… then Qualms

ishmael
You probably shouldn’t read Ishmael…

The biggest problem I’m having with 3D-printed food is the “why”. Why would we do it? It sounds like a lot of money, to be honest, to build machines to produce our food when we can just rip our food right out of the ground if we wanted to.

It is a really interesting concept, and in general, I like how tech is keeping apace with our unsavory curiosity for new and exciting things, but 3D printing food seems pointless. Yes, we can add protein to protein-less powders and we can shape gels into lizards to possibly feed a healthy helping of broccoli to our 1-month-old, etc. However, this is one of those innovations that is shaping up to be a good example of why our human empire is falling. We’re over-complicating things. It’s like Rube Goldbergs machines. They are trés cool, they make a lot of noise, and do a lot of pointless things, but with pizzazz and verve and color and lights, kapow! Again I say, however, it’s a waste, no? Trés waste magnifique? C’est un waste terrible? Bleh!

Plus: Don’t we need to grow the food first, then boil it up, chalk it down, send it into the machine, and then we get our 3D-printed dinosaur, right? And how much food does that waste?

Food waste

We already have a huge problem with wasting food in this country… well, in the world. And I can admit I do it too. The portions are insane around here. No two people need 5,000 stalks of asparagus for one night’s anniversary steak dinner… So, perhaps 3D printing could help with that? “You get a gloop, you get a glop, you get a sploop, and you get a lot.”

End of rant

Anyway. That’s my two cents on the whole 3D printing thing.

Crazy, right? I mean, I once watched a timelapse of a 3D printer building what appeared to be an outhouse-like structure and it took days… Have you see the video of that guy who makes a shelter out of objects found in the woods? In like 2 hours?

That’s all I’m saying… Ok, now. 3D print me a Big Mac! With fries! And a jamocha shake! Wait, McDonald’s doesn’t have jamocha shakes and Arby’s doesn’t make Big Macs… well. A girl can dream!

spy-kids
Spy Kids was amazing. Don’t judge me.
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