May 26, 2015 | By Alec

While we’ve been seeing a lot of interesting food 3D printing innovations over the coming months (enough, at least, to suggest that this could be the year of the food printer), most of these focus solely or almost exclusively on chocolate. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as it is evidently possible to create gorgeous chocolate creations with a 3D printer.

Nonetheless, it is quite refreshing to see experiments with other extrudable materials and we were therefore very happy to learn about a recent art experiment by Dutch food printing start-up 3dChef. This small company founded by Julian Spring specializes in food 3D printing experiments, and especially with sugar. However, when approached by London-based artist Katrin Spranger in February 2015, they were led towards an entirely different material: Honey.

Of course honey is theoretically a very extrudable material as it’s a paste that becomes slightly more fluid when heated, but for some reason few food printing innovators have experimented with it so far. ‘Katrin’s piece deals with the issues of bee decline and in particular the alarming Colony Collapse Disorder. Therefore being able to 3D print in honey was an important factor to tell the story,’ the team from 3dChef explain their choice for this material. Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, is one of the main dangerous to the bee population across the globe, and it essentially consists of bees ‘giving up’ on their societies. While this will obviously endanger the world’s honey supply, much of our agriculture also relies on pollination by bees so this is more dangerous than you might think.

Armed with little more than a small collage and some notes from a meeting, they set out to design the gorgeous sculpture you can see above. ‘The design represents ‘the food chain’ and elements of traditional adornment, symbolising the presence and history of jewellery whilst referring to its future applications,’ the designers explain. ‘Drawing on perceived values of precious metals and the continuous esteem of traditional jewellery materials, gold is compared to honey.’

But of course that still had to be 3D printed in an experimental material, so the chefs were unsurprisingly rather nervous about this project. ‘[But] before too long we nailed it and the results even amazed us. The detail, the crispness and strength were perfect,’ they say. And the results are certainly something to be proud of, even more so because this is probably the largest 3D printed edible structure made so far.

But of course the real test of a 3D printed food sculpture isn’t just in its appearance; it’s in the taste as well. Being displayed at the Collect Open 2015 at the Saatchi Gallery in London, the sculpture was eaten by the eager guests on the last day of the exhibition. And the 3D printed honey, we are told, was delicious. 



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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