Finnish research gives a taste of the future
Finnish researchers are developing advanced food manufacturing technologies by combining expertise in food, material science and 3D printing technology.
The long-term result from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland would see the creation of high-tech vending machines that provide customised purchases.
During its initial trials, VTT has tested starch and cellulose-based materials for 3D food prototypes. Researchers are also working on the printability of protein concentrates of both plant (oat and faba bean) and dairy (whey protein) origin.
“However, a great deal of work is needed in order to proceed to industrial-scale production,” says VTT principal scientist Nesli Sözer. “Equipment needs to be developed in addition to materials. Such equipment could be developed for domestic 3D food printing as well as vending machines.”
3D printing technology will eventually enable the layer-by-layer manufacture of various structures, with textures ranging from crispy to soft gels. In order to facilitate this, a new Tekes-funded project coordinated by VTT, in collaboration with Aalto University, is targeting 3D printing of multi-textural food structures in a techno-economically feasible and sustainable way.
The subsequent technology innovations will be utilised by Finnish industries across various sectors, including ingredient, food processing, equipment manufacturing, software and online services and retail.
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