Fruit Maker

The future of food printing with multi-material printing and molecular gastronomy

5 February 2019

Fruit-Maker is a conceptual design piece that explores how 3D printing may be utilized by the food industry in the future. Prompted by a brief from Frucor Beverages to revitalize their Fresh-Up brand, Tor Robinson from New Zealand designed a promotional event that would allow customers to design their own fantasy fruit, and see it printed out by a rather unconventional vending machine.

Spherification within 3D printed fruit could emulate the sensation of biting into the juicy flesh

Real fruit contain a variety of textures and flavours in a single complex package, which helps to make the experience of eating fruit so appealing. They are also naturally constructed with a variety of materials, some of which give greater pleasure than others. This complicated arrangement of sensation greatly affects the ultimate experience of the consumer, something that should always be kept in mind when designing experiences that mimic or replace nature.

Fruit Maker Collection

Current 3D printed foods are generally mono-material, where the ingredients are mixed together, then layered in a consistent paste to achieve a digitally generated form. While this has been quite successful in some instances, the output of varied and appealing foods is narrow. For this design piece Tor Robinson incorporated her previous research on multi-material printing to hypothesize a future where 3D printers could print with multiple edible materials in a single print. With Stratasys’ Polyjet 3D printing technology, she was able to demonstrate what 3D printed fruit could be like in the future using inedible but evocative prototypes.

Fruit Maker Fruits

This future 3D printer would integrate this multi-material technology with the equipment needed to 3D print food. She also drew on additional techniques used in molecular gastronomy, where spherification is used to create little bubbles of liquid that burst in your mouth. Used together these technologies would help to synthesize the freshness and natural feeling of fruit consumption that multi-material printing alone could not achieve. Spherification within 3D printed fruit could emulate the sensation of biting into the juicy flesh of an orange or grape.

The work of Tor Robinson was part of the special area “Future FoodStyles” on the occasion of the Living Kitchen of the KoelnMesse from 14.-20. January 2019.