3D food printing-An innovative way of mass customization in food fabrication

Jie Sun*, Zhuo Peng, Liangkun Yan, Jerry Y.H. Fuh, Geok Soon Hong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

141 Citations (Scopus)


About 15%-25% of the aging population suffers from swallowing difficulties, and this creates an in-creasing market need for mass customization of food. The food industry is investigating mass customization tech-niques to meet the individual needs of taste, nutrition, and mouthfeel. Three dimensional (3D) food printing is a potential solution to overcome drawbacks of current food customization techniques, such as lower production ef-ficiency and high manufacturing cost. This study introduces the first-generation food printer concept designs and functional prototypes targeted to revolutionize customized food fabrication by 3D printing (3DP). Unlike the ro-botics-based food manufacturing technologies designed to automate manual processes for mass production, 3D food printing integrates 3DP and digital gastronomy technique to customize food products. This introduces artistic capabilities into domestic cooking and extends customization capabilities to the industrial culinary sector. Its ap-plication in domestic cooking or catering services can not only provide an engineering solution for customized food design and personalized nutrition control, but also has the potential to reconfigure customized food supply chains. In this paper, the selected prototypes are reviewed based on fabrication platforms and printing materials. A de-tailed discussion on specific 3DP technologies and the associated dispensing/printing process for 3D customized food fabrication with single and multi-material applications is reported. Lastly, impacts of food printing on custo-mized food fabrication, personalized nutrition, food supply chain, and food processing technologies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Bioprinting
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • 3D printing
  • Customized food fabrication
  • Mass customization
  • Multi-material
  • Platform design


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