3D printed products are booming in the market nowadays. People are always in need of cost-effective and easily producible products that too in large numbers. After the successful trial of 3D printed houses, 3D printed heart on a chip, and others, the researchers have diverted themselves towards the category of food. The pace at which the 3D printing market is headed looks like the future where everything including food and shelter is 3D printed doesn’t seem far away.
Cheese is the product on which the researcher Alan Kelly at the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at University College Cork (Ireland) has set is eyes on. Who loves cheese? It is a wrong question to ask, as it is one of the most loved food products among the public. You will find cheese in right from the sandwiches, pizzas, pasta to cakes and drinks as well. The cheese is a milk product which is not only gooey but also mouth melting thus, showing that it has a property to melt and solidify again. Taking this property into consideration, the researchers have thought about carrying out the 3D printing experiment on this milk product.
In order to print the cheese, Kelly tried using a number of cheese types but out of all the best was the processed cheese. Scientists are still hunting for specific raw materials required for the 3D printing keeping in mind the fluidity required to flow out of the nozzle and its property to build into certain molds or shapes as well. Thus, they melted the processed cheese at 75°C for about 12 Minutes and then sent it through the nozzle at two different extrusion rates and later compared the 3D-printed cheese with the processed cheese. The 3D-printed cheese is 45–49% softer than the processed cheese. The printed cheese was a little more fluid when melted, darker in color as well as much springier than the original one.
After gaining success in the cheese, researchers believe in experimenting with more dairy products using raw materials required to prepare them. Looking at the advancement rate, it tends to get more exciting to print other food systems. But one major question that comes to mind is whether it tastes the same as the normal one. There is no answer for it right now as the product was so tiny to be tasted, however, no change in the taste can be expected.
So just wait and watch for the 3D-printed cheese to get commercial.