3D printing has transformed many industries, from manufacturing to arts and crafts, with its limitless possibilities.

Now is the time for 3D printing to make waves in the food industry, to the point where it might fundamentally change the appliances we have in our kitchens. It offers a completely new way of creating food, allowing users to create things that were previously thought impossible in the comfort of their own homes.

One of the first commercial 3D food printers was the “Foodini”, which was released back in 2014. Based on the ingredients used, it allowed consumers to create a wide range of sweet and savory dishes in all shapes, form and sizes with a level of detail that would have been extremely difficult to achieve by hand.

Initially, 3D printing of food will be mainly concentrated in the food service sector due to the high price point. One machine still costs thousands of dollars, and it’s also difficult to obtain the necessary ingredients. Alongside this, the functions of these printers tend to be tailored for restaurant kitchens where they allow chefs to create unique designed dishes that are impossible to achieve by hand.

Although the use of food 3D printers is still relatively limited, it has the potential to become the next essential kitchen appliance – or even replace the kitchen itself in both households and restaurants. Having the ability to print any type of food at the touch of a button, means consumers can cook anything they desire as long as they have the design and ingredients for it to work. For example, ordering a takeaway could be as simple as purchasing a food design online from your local restaurant and printing it at home, taking convenience to a whole new level.

As with many radically new technologies, there will be trust issues to overcome and consumer education to undertake. People may not like the idea of eating printed food – wondering whether it is as fresh or safe as their usual food. But people had similar thoughts when the microwave was first introduced and it has now become an essential household item. Nevertheless, the success of food 3D printers will ultimately come down to how cheap they could become, the accessibility of the ingredients and the function of the printers.

For more insight and data, visit the GlobalData Report Store – Food Processing Technology is part of GlobalData Plc.