When a friend first suggested I added it to my list I thought it was a bit of an odd one but as I thought about it more it made sense.
3D printers are coming down in price making them more accessible. As humans we (mostly) take pleasure in the appearance of our food and prefer food to be nicely presented rather than eating sloppy mush. In places where it isn’t possible to eat fresh food science has now enabled us to provide well-balanced nutritious food. Unfortunately it doesn’t look appetising. So you use the 3D printer to print something that instantly adds appeal to the food.
While the cost of this is prohibitive in most cases, and good fresh food is easily accessible the ability to print food would be useful when sending astronauts to space. This is something that NASA is currently looking into (1).
It is also currently being used in some rest homes in Germany to make the mashed up food that needs to be served more appetising according to an article on stuff with some of the more novel uses of 3D printed food (2). Other suggestions included customised wedding cake toppers, providing customised nutrition, making use of sustainable food sources that people currently find unpalatable such as insects and algae, and cocktail garnishes.
While I think it’s a very cool idea it will take a big change in mindset, or circumstances for this to be come mainstream. For this reason I’ve put it towards the bottom of my list at number 7.