Though it seems inevitable to predict the future of food, it is considered as one of the most promising applications 3D printing technology can bring.
October 2015, at a consortium in Brussels, PERFORMANCE (Personlized Food for the Nutrition of Elderly Consumers) was introduced by European experts in the fields of 3D food printing. This is a project especially intended for patients with dysphagia. The EU experts had used Foodjet 3D food printer technology in order to produce an appetizing, nutritious, and easy-to-swallow 3D printed meal for the elderly. And in the coming years, it is highly possible that 3D printed meals could land on your own plate.
In our current age when there is a great decline in fertility rates, most nations in the world are experiencing rapidly aging populations. In fact this year, Canada crossed the threshold of having more citizens aged 65 and over that 15 and under, along with other elderly-skewed countries such as Japan, Germany, Sweden and Denmark.
When it comes to taking care of our elderly, challenges fall in nutrition and feeding. Of course, there are health related issues such as strokes, dementia, or Parkinson’s that might attack anytime. These diseases often make chewing or swallowing prohibitively painful or difficult to the elderly which leads to the risk of choking. These situations commonly result to malnutrition. At present, up to 60% of nursing homes suffer from dysphagia and they are experiencing these difficulty.
So to aid on this critical issue, 14 countries have formed the EU with the budget of roughly three million euros. They spent three years devising a holistic, automated and personalized food supply chain using 3D printing technology. Scientists have been able to re-create classic comfort foods, including peas and gnocchi, mimicking their taste, texture, and even incorporating additional nutritional value through the aid of FoodJet 3D food printers. Not only are the elderly became more inclined and interested to eat these meals, but the problem of hard swallowing had easily vanished due to soft, pureed of 3D printed foods. And the most important part of all, each meal is algorithmically optimized to deliver the specific nutrients and portions each patient requires on a weekly basis. Comfort and health solution made possible by 3D printing technology is really amazing!