Episode 31 – The future of 3D printed food

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What LILA has been up to [01:22]

It’s confession time for LILA. To her dismay, work has become her priority instead of working out. Her plan to 3D print herself again is on hold because she isn’t where she wants to be on her fitness journey. LILA shares her struggles as well as her desire to explore the concept of mindfulness.

Conversation with Michael Petch, 3D printed food expert  [07:21]

LILA is excited to welcome a fellow Brit to her show, Michael Petch, a 3D printing expert. Michael has written two books on this subject, Future Food: How Cutting Edge Technology & 3D Printing Will Change the Way You Eat and 3D Printing: Rise of the Third Industrial Revolution.

Michael explains that 3D printing food is a relatively new idea. One of the first applications was in 2006 when researchers at Cornell University 3D printed a cookie. LILA and Michael discuss that many people still view 3D printing food as futuristic when the reality is that technology is further along than most realize.

Reconstituting potato chips [15:36]

LILA asks Michael how 3D printing food can help with improving efficiency in the food supply chain. Michael gives the example of potato chips which are packaged in bags with air to protect them during transit.  It would be much more efficient if the potatoes were powdered, shipped, and then reconstituted by a 3D printer at the destination where they would be consumed—perhaps even in your own kitchen. LILA jokes that it would be like on-demand Pringles.

Applications of 3D printing [19:45]

Michael believes that there are many applications for 3D printing both food and non-food items. He shares that there is currently work being done to reconstitute cellulose so that it can be added into people’s foods as a form of fiber. Additionally, Michael says that companies will be able to use 3D printers to design and print custom containers. Imagine your favorite food packaged in a creative, one of a kind container made just for you. The possibilities are endless.

Food security, GMO, and 3D printing [25:33]

LILA wonders if we should be worried when it comes to tinkering with our food. Michael reminds us that for centuries, civilization has refined and manipulated food.  Man will always strive to improve upon himself and his surroundings and the 3D printing technology can be beneficial.

Mountain bikes and self-driving cars [30:12]

Michael and LILA have some fun discussing innovation and technology. Michael says that mountain bikes were created at a time when bike manufacturers didn’t think they’d ever sell—and now we can’t imagine life without them. LILA is fascinated with self-driving cars and their potential to impact our lives, both for the good and bad.

Fun questions for Michael [37:07]

Favorite food: Mole with pickled habanero onions

Favorite technology: Nanotechnology

Thoughts this week [39:46]

LILA has really been struggling and she promises to let us into her head on next week’s episode. In the meantime, she needs our help. Please take a moment and send LILA some encouraging words. It’s time for us to inspire her!

Next episode: LILA talks about herself!

Significant Quotes


“3D printing might be used in disaster relief situations….you have your base ingredients and they could be reconstituted for use in a country.”

“There is a tendency to oversell this as a replicator device.”

“The apples that we are eating today are very different from the ones that Alexander the Great found.”


“I had prioritized work over working out.”

“This is a forever game, not a what did I lose yesterday game.”

“Is there really a difference between a Pringle and a potato chip, because really it is just the mush in your mouth at the end of it.”


This American Life: Tell Me I’m Fat

Michael Petch:


Future Food: How Cutting Edge Technology & 3D Printing Will Change the Way You Eat

3D Printing: Rise of the Third Industrial Revolution

3Digital Cooks podcast

Articles for 3DPrintingindustry.com

Articles for Autodesk’s LineShapeSpace

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