Tons of food ends up in garbage cans and eventually landfills each year as waste. Popular restaurants often close their doors to patrons and quickly toss uneaten food items. Grocery stores get rid of bruised and unattractive products in favor of fresher options that are appealing to consumers. Schools, hotels, and other places that produce food in large quantities also dump a lot of leftovers from breakfast and lunch. And everyday people like us throw away the final bits of our meals without thinking twice. It’s honestly sad considering that millions of people around the world are hungry and unable to access the food their body requires each day. But, Dutch designer Elzelinde van Doleweerd and her business partner Vita Broeken hope to tackle this issue with their company Upprinting Food, which produces 3-D printed snacks made from food waste.
How does it work?
According to Upprinting Food’s website, foods like fruits, vegetables, rice, bread, and more are blended together to create a puree. This puree comes out of a 3D printer and then goes to be baked and dehydrated so it will last a long time. There are several tasty recipes on their website like sweet banana rice, sweet banana bread, spicy sweet potato, crunchy carrots, lovely beetroot, and surprising kale.
Van Doleweerd’s Upprinting Food YouTube video dives deeper into the magic behind 3D printing food. She reveals that majority of waste in the Netherlands, her home country, is bread and unattractive vegetables/fruits. “We have created several recipes from different residual food flows,” said van Doleweerd. “And by adding herbs and spices, we can create interesting flavors. Our printable food paste is created by blending and combining those different ingredients. We can create interesting designs on the computer and send it to the printer.” The clip ends with several examples of 3D printed food integrated into several dishes and it looks delicious.
The Future of Restaurant Menus (and beyond)
Upprinting Food is steadily testing new recipes and partnering with restaurants to help them not only reduce waste, but add a few yummy additions to their menus too. The new recipes are a unique blend of typical waste items. The company also trains staff members on the 3D food printer.
It’s not clear if Upprinting Food has made its way to the United States yet but hopefully it will become in the norm in restaurants. This technology might be a bit much for the average home, however, this could lead to opportunities for waste food pickup to be used for 3D foods. Some of this “waste” product could also be passed down to those who are in need of food, too. Packages of 3D snacks might even be the future of school lunches! Honestly, anything can happen in a world where food comes out of a printer.
So, the next time you are eating a dessert with a crunchy cookie design, think about how it might have come from discarded veggies and bread. The future of food continues to change.
Image Credit: Upprinted Food