Some dehydrated “cochayuyo” seaweed, some instant mashed potatoes and hot water: these are the ingredients for a nutrient-dense menu of 3D-printed foods that nutritionists in Chile hope will revolutionize the food market, especially for kids.
With a 3D food printer and a modern twist on the traditional use of cochayuyo, an alga typically found in Chile, New Zealand, and the South Atlantic, Roberto Lemus, a professor at the University of Chile and several students, have managed to create nutritious and edible create figures they hope kids will love to eat.
Pokemon figures, or any type of animal imaginable, are all fed into the 3D printer along with the gelatinous mixture and seven minutes later the food is “printed”.
“We’re looking for different figures, fun figures … visually, colors, tastes, flavors, smells,” Lemus told AFP.
But, he emphasized, the emphasis is mainly on the nutritional value. “The product has to be very nutritious for people, but it also has to be tasty,” he said.
3D food printers are expensive, costing from $4,000 to over $10,000, but Lemus hopes technological advancementtheir costs will drop and reach more people.
The technology is developing in the culinary field in dozens of countries and 3D food printers are being used to design sweets, pasta and other foods.
NASA tested it back in 2013 with the idea of using the variety of foods what astronauts eat in space.
super power algae
Chile is making progress with cochayuyo seaweed, one of the quintessential ingredients of the coastal nation’s cuisine, which is rich in amino acids, minerals and iodine, according to Alonso Vasquez, a 25-year-old postgraduate student writing his thesis on the subject.
The young researcher takes dehydrated cochayuyo, cuts it and grinds it to make cochayuyo flour, which he then mixes with instant mashed potatoes.
He then adds: hot water to the mixture to create a gelatinous and slimy substance which it feeds into the printer.
“It occurred to me to use potatoes and rice flour, all of which are high in starch. The starch from these raw materials combined with the cochayuyo alginate provides stabilization within the 3D printing,” he says, waiting for the printer to finish. creating a Pikachu figure of about two centimeters (just under an inch) and a taste of mashed potatoes and the sea.
The project has been running for two years and is still in its infancy, but the idea is to apply ingredients such as edible flowers or edible dyes to the menu to make them more appealing to children.
© 2022 AFP
Quote: Seaweed and 3D Printers: Chile’s Innovative Approach to Feeding Children (2022, June 18) Retrieved June 18, 2022 from https://techxplore.com/news/2022-06-seaweed-3d-printers-chile-approach .html
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