Food of the future? Sweden to test 3D-printed meals on the elderly


Pureed pastry may not sound appetizing, but Sweden is preparing to road test such a ‘dish’ as part of a new 3D-printed food project which aims to make higher-quality mushed meals and improve elderly people’s nutrition.

The number of adults who have trouble chewing or swallowing increases with age, resulting in a serious risk of malnourishment among the elderly, according to Evelina Höglund at the research institute ‘Rise’, which is behind the project.  

It’s a really big problem that people who get consistency-adapted food eat too little,” Höglund told Aftonbladet. The new technique to create better pureed food will be trialed in autumn at two care homes in southern Sweden, as well as at a company that provides food for hospitals.

“The idea is to create, for example, a piece of broccoli, a chicken leg, or a Danish pastry so that it looks as identical [to the normal food] as possible. But the consistency will be like a loose panna cotta,” Richard Asplund, from the food production company, told Hallandsposten.

3D-printed food has emerged as a major technological development in recent years and is expected to be worth a whopping $535 million by the year 2023.

What was once reserved for intricate sugary pastry decorations has ballooned in possibilities to encompass automated cooking, mass manufacturing and personalized meals.

It’s hoped the technology will one day make nutritious meals readily available in space and impoverished nations, create healthier versions of processed foods, and reduce food waste by repurposing ‘ugly’ foods like leftover cuts of fish.

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