Taking personalized diets to the next level by 3D printing personalized foods from alternative and sustainable nutrients sources. We used insects as a sustainable source for proteins. For the product we developed a service where users can design their own snack according to their dietary needs and personal preferences.
In this 20-week team project involving two chemical engineering and two industrial design students, prospects of 3D printing technology such as the creation of new textures, personalized foods, and the use of alternative ingredients were investigated. The designed bar, named Printec Bites, was made from an alternative protein source, namely insects.
Insects are considered to be one of the most sustainable protein sources and can be digested well by the human body. By using aqueous extraction, insect powder was separated into fat and proteins (the nutrients insects are rich in), to use it to create protein-rich and fat-rich pastes. These pastes were 3D printed into bars with personalized nutritional value.
The project targeted consumers with specific nutrition requirements, such as soldiers, athletes and astronauts. For these user groups, the food intake directly influences their physical performance, which at some moments can be crucial. Printec Bites can be used as a nutritional bar substituting a meal in extreme situations (soldiers travelling from base to base) or as a supplement snack to obtain the necessary nutrients throughout the day (athletes).
The slow introduction of the new protein into people’s diets in an unrecognizable shape (bar), could lead to improved acceptance of insects as a food source.
Next to the physical 3D printed snack, we developed a platform to facilitate the personalization. Here, the user can design the own snack in terms of shape, flavour and nutritional content. It can be for personal use, but it can also be used for a larger group of people or a company where e.g. a dietician can provide the nutritional values. The user of the platform slightly differs, depending on whether it is for a company or for personal use.