By Mike Pomranz
Updated May 04, 2016
Credit: © Natural Machines

By a show of hands, how many of you out there own a 3D printer? Yeah, I thought so. But what if 3D printers could print snacks? Now how many of you would suddenly be in the market for a 3d printer?

Granted, the technology currently being developed by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is more aimed at the commercial market, but according to a recent story on Science Daily, the company is working towards creating a vending machine that utilizes 3D printing to print out individually customized snacks. Just imagine the possibilities: Gummy bears printed to look like gummy worms! A Dorito that is shaped like a Frito! Okay, maybe I’m not the best at this, but you can use your own imagination.

However, despite the obvious design implications, VTT’s hope is that they can utilize 3D printing not only to create snacks that look cool, but are also healthy and nutritious (which is almost as novel an idea as using 3D printing at all). They’ve already begun testing with oat and fava bean plant proteins, as well as whey protein. “However, a great deal of work is needed in order to proceed to industrial-scale production. Equipment needs to be developed in addition to materials. Such equipment could be developed for domestic 3D food printing as well as vending machines,” Nesli Sözer, Principal Scientist at VTT, was quoted as saying.

So yeah, don’t rule out domestic versions of 3D printing snack machines either. In the future, you might be able to print the fava bean snack of your dreams at home. Who knew your dreams were so healthy?!