3D printing in the kitchen gives new meaning to fast food
(Colby Ware/special to The Baltimore Sun / July 29, 2012) Also By Hugo Martin September 22, 2013, 10:00 a.m. The food truck craze that has swept the nation will soon roll up to Los Angeles International Airport. No, airport security wont allow food trucks to pull to the curb of the terminal. Instead, an airport concession operator plans to install the shell of a food truck inside of Terminal 4. The fake truck will be outfitted inside with grills, pots, pans and other equipment to serve food. Starting Nov. 1, the food truck will be operated by food truck chefs based in Los Angeles, who will rotate in once a year or so. This is our way to help bring people with local talent to offer their food at the airport, said Rich Bennett, senior director of operations for HMSHost, a concession operator at Los Angeles International Airport. Meanwhile, Long Beach Airport is one of a handful of airports across the country that has allowed food trucks to park at its cellphone parking lots to dish out chow to drivers waiting to pick up friends and family members. The weekly food truck program, called Truckn Tuesdays, was originally a summer event held the third Tuesday of each month. But it has become so popular that the airport plans to continue it indefinitely. Passengers, employees and those waiting in the area are enjoying it, said airport spokeswoman Kerry Gerot.
Water could be added to the food in the extruding process, along with miniscule amounts of healthy options, such as green vegetables, with more appetizing foods to make meals more nutritious. The printers would then extrude the foods in shapes and colors replicating the meals we typically eat todayfrom steaks to hot dogs to rice. Holman said his efforts are “at the dot-matrix stage,” as printing was in the early 1980s. “I can print out smoothies and Cliff Bars.” Many forms of confections could be produced through 3D printing. Eliminate waste Another important reason to turn to 3D printed foods is to address the wildly inefficient way that developed countries, especially the U.S., handle the food they produce. For example, Americans must drive to a store, buy their groceries, store it in cupboards, refrigerators and freezers, and yet, most consumers end up throwing out about 40 percent of the food they buy. “Every grocery store throws out 2000 pounds of expired food a week,” he said. “We’re good at figuring out how to make enough food and make it efficiently. Where we’re not efficient is in the last mile between the store and your mouth. “So now, I’m imagining, what if I had a machine with three buttons on it: ‘What I ate yesterday’; ‘what Beyonce likes’; and ‘I’m feeling lucky’,” Holman said. By pressing a button, the 3D printer, using a precise printer head, would put down just a pixel of food at a time, hydrating it with a needle, cooking it with a laser and repeating the process for every pixel until an entire meal is on the plate. 3D-printed food could also offer a method of tracking with pinpoint precision the effects any given food has on an individual. Because the amount of each food is measured precisely, the printer could record nutrient data, and a person’s health in reaction to food could be studied over a lifetime. Printed food could even include your daily dose of medicine.