While the rest of the 3D printing industry seems to be almost unstoppable, the future of 3D printed food doesn’t seem to be progressing quite as quickly. There have certainly been a lot of advancements made, and plenty of valuable research done, but so far the consumer market just doesn’t seem to be very interested in 3D printing their meals. That is likely due to the fact that so far most of the real, working food 3D printers that we’ve seen use FFF-based paste extrusion technology which, essentially, 3D prints food with the equivalent of baby food. If that doesn’t sound very appetizing to you, well then you can see the problem.
While we may still be a few years off from 3D printed meals, there are some uses for the existing paste extrusion technology. There has been some success with 3D printing with chocolate and frostings for example, but the technology is still a little too expensive to be adopted on a large scale. But a gummy candy manufacturer named Katjes thinks that they’ve found a way to make 3D printed candy viable with their new Magic Candy Factory gummy 3D printer system. The 3D printer can be installed in a store or rented out for parties and will quickly 3D print customizable gummy candy in a wide variety of flavors, shapes and colors within minutes.
The factory is really just a pair of heavily modified 3D printers equipped with paste extruders that can 3D print most candy shapes in under five minutes. The printers are controlled via a custom-designed app on a tablet device where users can choose from a preselected variety of shapes, or have words 3D printed down on a piece of edible paper. Customers can then sprinkle sugars on top of the finished candy or spray it with a variety of flavors, and even glitter. The Magic Candy Factory is making its world debut at confectionery store, Candylicious, located in the Dubai Mall, where the managing director of Katjes, Melissa Snover, was on hand to explain why Dubai was the perfect spot to launch their printers.
“You get varied tastes and nationalities in Dubai and therefore it was perfect for us to partner with Candylicious. The people of Dubai have a ‘sweet tooth’ and are always interested in the latest tech innovations,” she told UAE media company 7 Days.
Here is video of the Dubai debut of the Magic Candy Factory at Candylicious:
Currently the only type of candy that the Magic Candy Factory is able to produce is the fruit-based gummy candy. However, the gummy candy that it makes is a vegan-friendly product that is also entirely gluten-free and dairy free. While that may sound healthy, sadly it is still candy that is loaded with sugar, so don’t go overboard. While the technology is capable of 3D printing with chocolate, at this time the company has no plans to incorporate chocolate into their products. However, Snover and Katjes believe that they have plenty to offer potential customers with the candy products that they do have available.
“The recipe is especially created to be printed – with all-natural fruit and vegetable extracts. The benefit of the experience is that children and adults can learn about the technology of 3D printing, ingredients in food, and making their own choices,” Snover said.
The cost of each piece of 3D printed candy is about €5.00 ($6.00) each, but it can cost more for customized shapes or larger pieces of candy. Aside from the product launch at the Katjes Café Gruen Ohr in Berlin, Dubai is currently the only retail location where you can use the Magic Candy Factory. However, according to Snover the company plans to bring the Magic Candy Factory to the United States in May. You can find out more about the Magic Candy Factory on their website. Discuss this great new concept in the 3D Printed Candy forum over at 3DPB.com.