That's the vision of Anjan Contractor (okay, maybe just the first part). His company, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, just received a grant to further develop 3D-printed food. At Quartz, Christopher Mims reports that NASA gave the company a $125,000 grant to develop a prototype of a 3D printer that can make a pizza, layer-by-layer. If successful, Contractor believes that this will lead to a future in which more food is printed:
He sees a day when every kitchen has a 3D printer, and the earth’s 12 billion people feed themselves customized, nutritionally-appropriate meals synthesized one layer at a time, from cartridges of powder and oils they buy at the corner grocery store. Contractor’s vision would mean the end of food waste, because the powder his system will use is shelf-stable for up to 30 years, so that each cartridge, whether it contains sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein or some other basic building block, would be fully exhausted before being returned to the store.
Honestly, a pizza (or any food for that matter) 3D-printed from 30-year old powder doesn't sound all that appetizing. So what exactly is the point of developing this technology when pizzas are fairly easy to come by? To make food more accessible as food prices rise and the global population grows.
“I think, and many economists think, that current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people sufficiently,” Contractor told Quartz. “So we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food.”
Photo: Flickr/Pink Sherbet Photography