3D Food Printing for Personalization: Design Space for Printability, Food Mechanics, and Consumer Ratings
Additive manufacturing enables the production of complex structures with emerging approaches showing great promise in the food industry for design customization and personalized nutrition. 3D food printing uses soft ingredients that are automatically deposited using a layer-by-layer build process to form pre-specified edible shapes. Research in three-dimensional (3D) food printing has grown exponentially in recent years, however, producing and designing extrudable food materials that enable customized shape fabrication and retention remains challenging due to the complexity of food matrices and the need to satisfy consumer expectations for nutrition, texture, and taste. Previous studies have analyzed the rheological and textural properties of non-printable materials when using additives such as starches and gums to improve printability by improving the food mechanics. However, few studies have investigated the use of other types of additives that not only improve printability but also consumer ratings and nutritional profile. Past studies have demonstrated positive consumer perceptions of 3D food printing, but there is still a need for consumer validation of the technology through consumption and rating of fabricated 3D printed samples. Therefore, a design space between materials, food mechanics, and consumers' acceptance are presented in this dissertation. The studies aim to explore the 3D food printability of various design features and assess how well they print through quantitative and qualitative measurements; measure consumer response to design complexity, taste, and print fidelity; and investigate the effect of various additives on the printability, food mechanics, and consumer ratings when using various food base materials. This research leads to new contributions primarily across mechanical engineering and manufacturing, while also having implications for consumer studies. New findings would drive human-centered design research forward, particularly by including the consumer as an active participant rather than a passive selector of designed products. Continued industry adoption of design for 3D printing has the potential to promote the creation of customizable foods that bypass the one-size-fits-all approach of bulk manufacturing, while delivering healthier and more desirable foods for consumers.