Whet Your Digital Appetite


Digital Strategy is everywhere.  Including places you’d never imagine.  For years we’ve heard about the “smart refrigerator” that will let you know when it’s time to get more eggs or ice cream, or that the milk is going bad.  This year, after decades of computer and kitchen appliance industry hype, Samsung has actually introduced such a product.  The Samsung Smart Family Hub Refrigerator (see Consumer Reports review here) will send you pictures from inside the fridge, and let you order your groceries from it.  Order, mind you, provided you shop with Fresh Direct or ShopRite.  Other retailers will undoubtedly come aboard, but those are the charter providers, along with Instacart and Groceries by MasterCard.

Oh, there’s one more thing: the Samsung fridge plays music.  It has built in speakers, playing Pandora or TuneIn Radio.  Just what you’d expect from a smart fridge.  Right?

Digital Strategy and food go further than just inventory and freshness analysis.  And music.

You can 3D print your food, too! Barilla, the Italian company and pasta giant, has been working on 3D printing pasta. This might sound like blasphemy, as pasta is as much an art as it is a food handed down over generations.  But the Barilla people see opportunity and a rich area of growth for pasta in 3D printing.

In an interview in www.3ders.org (a great source for 3D printing information) Barilla’s communications director Luca Di Leo discussed this when presenting the 3D printer at CIBUS, an international food exhibition in Parma, Italy. “Pasta has a tradition of excellent quality but is also a tradition itself. It’s important to look at the future and at how the pasta of future generations will be,” he said.  The article went on to add the most important point of all:

But the real question is: how does the 3D printed pasta taste? Marcello Zaccaria, the chef of Accademia Barilla, offered several tasting opportunities to visitors. Among others, he presented a 3D printed pasta dish with pea cream, sautéed calamari, caramelized tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. As he argued, the 3D printed pasta of the future has an excellent quality. “3D pasta is not only a high quality pasta, fast cooking and always al dente, it can also be used to create gourmet recipes,” he said.

The entire article can be found here. The important point of note is that this is not a bunch of computer nerds or oddball tech types monkeying around with gadgets and playing in some other reality.  This is Digital Strategy, and it will be a part of everyday life sooner rather than later.

NASA, the armed forces, dormitories and other institutions are all either doing research or are candidates for offering 3D printed food machinery and products. 

3D Printed food can be customized to include product composition for health regimens, allergy concerns, and special dietary considerations.  Special proteins can be added into food products, and fat levels and other dietary or medical issues can be moderated.  Food production variables such as shape, size, texture, form, taste and even color can be controlled or modified by hand or by volume.

There are restaurants in London, New York, and the Netherlands serving 3D Printed Food menus.

Many chocolate companies are already involved in 3D Printing.  Hershey, Nestle, and Choc Edge have all adopted 3D printing.  NASA is actively using 3D Printing, with astronauts currently eating some 3D Printed meals in Space. 

3D Printed food, be it in a restaurant, a chocolate bar, or even out of this world, is here to stay.  Digital Strategy has come to the preparation of food. That’s a lot to digest!




Dean Landsman

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