3D printing technology creates more possibilities for gourmets
By Li Qiong

Do you know how to make a dish that would please both vegans and meat-lovers? An Israeli 3D printing company is working on this using plant-based materials, meaning it prints meat-like dishes.

"The Redefine Meat 3D printing technology allows replacing the cows or other animals in creating the meat. We aim to create their texture and flavor and combine everything together in the way that only animals can do," said Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, CEO & Co-founder of Redefine Meat.

There's an increasing concern over animal welfare and the environment, so plant-based meat products are gaining popularity. And now the pandemic is posing new challenges to meat safety.

"Especially in this time, with the COVID-19 and with everything we experience. Technology being better for the environment and for people is really important. And we see this as something accelerating, and we grow dramatically all over the world," said Ben-Shitrit.

The Tel Aviv-based company will target high-end restaurants later this year, and then extend to meat distributors in 2021.

It's not just plant-based meat. 3D printing technology has been widely applied in food making around the world.

3D printed food /Changxing Shiyin Tech Co.

3D printed food /Changxing Shiyin Tech Co.

The Shiyin Technology Corporation, which is only five years old, sells 3D printed food like chocolates, candies and cakes to more than 20 countries and regions.

"3D printing technology can achieve complicated shapes such as hollow patterns and other irregular shapes," said Li Jingyuan, CEO of Changxing Shiyin Tech Co. "Besides, the traditional assembly lines of food factories only do mass production in order to reduce costs. They don't do small and medium batches. But this is not an issue with 3D printing because it wastes no material and can be fast."

But above all, it's the design control that has proven a winner. It's no longer just a one-way surprise from the cook to customers. With a cell phone connected to a 3D printing machine, you can surprise anyone, including yourself. And there's so much more.

"3D printing can change the internal structure of food, making it soft and easy to chew, swallow, and absorb. This is favored by some elderly people and patients with special diseases," said Li.

Some 3D printing developers say that this technology is gradually changing people's cooking habits. They expect one day 3D printers could be found in every household kitchen, just like stoves and ovens.