How 3D Printers Could Make You Healthier

Image credit: get-nourished.com

Over the course of time food sources for humans have radically altered from our early ancestral hunter-gatherer instinct to purchasing mass-produced convenience foods at the supermarket.

The modifications we have made to our eating habits, diets, and rituals also run parallel with evolution of our technological progress. It is little wonder then that the food technology startup Nourished has announced production of the world’s first 3D printed vitamin stack tailored to an individual’s specific nutritional requirements.

Melissa Snover, founder and CEO of Nourished says, “Nourished takes 3D printing to another level. We’ve kept a keen eye how consumer demand is driving personalization across various sectors – from retail to health – and then apply it to nutrition.”

Consumers can have their vitamin stack customized by either completing an online questionnaire or using the ‘create your own’ function on the Nourished website. The resulting stack is made up of a combination seven ingredients, out of a possible twenty-eight, that have been determined as best suited to the individual.

We’re bringing a truly unique product to the UK market that will change the way consumers think about their nutrition, in much the same way wearable technology has disrupted the personal health market.

Melissa Snover, Founder and CEO, Nourished

What’s more is that what goes into the food-safe 3D printed ‘fruit gummy’ has been carefully thought out. Around 98 percent of the ingredients are sourced from UK based wholefood sources and the vitamin stacks are made up of a sugar- and allergen-free vegan base formula made up of fruit and vegetable extracts. Once the tailor-made vitamin stack has been printed it is then coated in sugar-free preservative before being packed into a sustainable, compostable plastic-free packaging.

This makes Nourished an attractive prospect for those wishing to purchase the product as it is easily digestible, compliments lifestyle, and meets almost all dietary requirements as well as being environmentally conscious.

The product aims to boost endurance and recovery levels in athletes as well as fitting the lifestyle of the everyday consumer by providing an immune-boost and supporting certain lifestyles for those who travel or require extra nutrients such as B12 and D3 due to dietary restrictions.

Over the course of 18 months Snover and Nourished’s CTO Martyn Catchpole developed a patented 3D printing technique. The resulting technology makes use of fused deposition modeling and seven print heads working together. Like all 3D printers, Nourished’s technology moves along an X, Y, and Z axis as well as utilizing an additional four-rotation axis in conjunction with a plug and play retraction cartridge retraction system.

Just as the Nourished team has made a radical attempt to influence the 3D printing food market, Snover says that the hopes of the team are to, “transform the way people think about wellness and take care of themselves from the inside out.” She believes that offering consumers a new way they perceive their own nutritional needs can instigate a much-desired change in the market.

Nourished also set out a responsibility clause on their website stating, “We believe in looking after both our bodies and our planet. We’re proud that every Nourishment is vegan, sugar-free, plastic-free and made in the UK to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible.”

The growing influence of 3D printing in the food industry looks set to continue as the technology offers not only food-solutions but also positively impacts the environment as startups are consciously thinking about their environmental impact. Just recently an Israeli startup, Aleph Farms, successfully printed slaughter-free beef and other meat products, including a successful experiment in space on the ISS.

Thus, as our lifestyles change, being redesigned in tandem with the technological landscape it is no surprise our diets do too. Due to a collective awareness that humanity as a whole must reduce the stress human progress and consumption puts on the planet, sustainable new food solutions are welcome. We indeed must look after ourselves and the planet and perhaps it is reasonable to think that 3D printing could potentially make us healthier whilst minimizing our impact on the environment.  

David J. Cross, M.A

Written by

David J. Cross, M.A

David is an academic researcher and interdisciplinary artist. David's current research explores how science and technology, particularly the internet and artificial intelligence, can be put into practice to influence a new shift towards utopianism and the reemergent theory of the commons.

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