3D Printed Food and Packaging Is Revolutionising FMCG Businesses
In this article we outline two ways 3D printed food and packaging can begin to impact the food manufacturing industry to a greater extent.
3D printing has been traditionally used in the automotive and industrial manufacturing sectors. The highly advanced technology prints complex three dimensional parts and components using particles of almost any material imaginable. Cross sections are laid down on top of one another and a different removable putty is printed in place of any gaps in the mould and extracted after printing.
3D printing is now being used as a replacement for stamping and injection moulding processes in the consumer packaged goods sector to create customised products and component parts. The innovative technology help companies reduce costs, improve customer service and gain a competitive advantage by taking advantage of cheaper materials and high levels of customisation.
3D Printed Food Containers and Packaging
Food packaging containers are some of the biggest costs involved in manufacturing food products. The potential exists to 3D print food grade containers in the shop and thus save manufacturers millions of dollars otherwise spent producing food packaging. Individual containers of food would no longer be needed and instead, consumers could simply print a container of the size and shape needed to store their ingredients.
In this hypotheical situation, food manufacturers and retailers would be able to store food in vats or kegs and then 3D print containers in store for consumers to fill with product. The precision needed to forecast logistics of supply and demand would be become almost redundant with 3D printing of packaging. The technology would enable greater creative potential on the part of consumers too, who in this scenario may choose precisely the ingredients they need based on their preference for meals.
3D Printed Food
Many companies are already experimenting with this process. Many foods we buy in supermarkets are a mix and pack product, meaning ingredients are mixed together, run through a production assembly and then cooked or baked. Ingredients could instead be printed as a final product which is then cooked or baked, saving time and expense on expensive machinery. It may be impossible to entirely replace our food sources with 3D printed food, but there are already several options available.
3D printing could help food manufactures produce food products faster and more cheaply. The technology could also allow consumers to customise their own food products after buying ingredients to feed into a 3D printer. With consumers desiring product customisation, sustainability, traceable products and time savings more than ever, innovation in the food 3D printing space could provide many benefits to food manufacturers and consumers alike.
At Lumix, we provide a wide range of services to help food businesses thrive. If you have more questions about 3D printing and its importance to the FMCG sector, get in touch with our experts.