My favorite candy in the entire world is Twizzlers. I’m crazy about them…I get a big package of them every year in my Christmas stocking, and sometimes for my birthday; my parents even sent me off to college one year with a giant box of them! I don’t care how old I am, I will also never stop biting the ends off an individual Twizzler and using it as a makeshift soda straw at the movies, and sometimes even at home (please don’t tell my dentist). If there were a way for me to 3D print Twizzlers from the comfort of my own house, I would never set foot in the candy aisle of a grocery store ever again. But until someone invents a 3D Twizzler printer, at least there’s the Katjes Magic Candy Factory 3D gummy printer, which we’ve followed since its tasty beginning.
Back in 2015, the CEO of German candy-making company Katjes teamed up with Melissa Snover, who founded an organic confectionery brand called Goody Goody Stuff, and together they created the Magic Candy Factory. This delicious factory is basically just two modified 3D printers, controlled through a custom-designed app, that have paste extruders capable of 3D printing candy shapes in five minutes. Users can choose a variety of shapes, or even words, to be 3D printed on a piece of edible paper, and then sprinkle sugar on top, or spray it with a variety of flavors and glitter. The candy itself is obviously packed with sugar, but is also gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan-friendly. The standard cost for a single 3D printed piece of gummy candy is roughly €5 ($6.00).The Magic Candy Factory had its world debut in the Candylicious confectionery store in the Dubai Mall last year. From there, a store in Ireland’s Dublin Airport got one, and it finally made its grand arrival in the US in the summer of 2016. Since its inception, the company has now introduced a total of 100 Magic Candy Factory 3D gummy printers. One of the Magic Candy Factory’s newest gummy innovations, that has lots of celebrities excited, are 3D Sweets Selfies.
Snover, now the managing director of Katjes-owned Magic Candy Factory, explained that when the candy 3D printer first debuted, they thought people would be more interested in making 3D candy shapes, but as it turns out, customers would rather personalize their candy. The Magic Candy Factory team was at the ISM, the world’s largest confectionery trade fair, in Cologne earlier this week, and was busy 3D printing gummy selfies for conference attendees the whole time. So, how do 3D printed gummy selfies work? It’s actually very simple.Customers can simply take a selfie on their phone and send it in, or if they’re on site with the printer, take a photo in the Magic Selfie Booth. The image is then converted to an “instant candy code,” which is sent to the printer. Customers can choose from one of eight colors and flavors, including Luscious Lemon and Gorgeous Green Apple, and the selfie is 3D printed within five minutes. The selfies cost a little more than the regular gummy candies: the suggested consumer price is $10 for an A5 sheet.
“When people are live in one of our own stores or one of our partner outlets, they’re able to actually create a memory and have an engagement experience, which is something that’s lacking from a lot of retail right now and I think it’s necessary to get people back into the stores and office,” Snover told ConfectioneryNews at ICM.
For customers who aren’t on site at one of the eight Magic Candy Factory locations or 25 partner retailers that sell the 3D printed selfies, they can still buy the candy online. What’s even cooler is that if the customer wants to see their face being 3D printed into a cool gummy candy selfie, employees with the Magic Candy Factory will send them a time-lapse video of their 3D Sweets Selfie being printed, so they can still “see the magic happening before their eyes.” Customers can also share this video on their own social media accounts.
So, what’s next for Magic Candy Factory?
Snover says, “At the moment, we’re really focusing more on how do we optimize the concept and how do we grow it into alternative ways, so things like amusement parks, events industry, places that you wouldn’t think of as a traditional first place to look at for candy, because the Magic Candy Factory is not just candy, it’s experience as well.”
The company is already seeing some corporate clients who are interested in 3D printing their logo on gummy candy, and some consumers who want to make personalized experiences for birthday parties, or even weddings. Snover says they are expecting to announce a partnership with a large theme park later this year.