3D Printed Seafood gets a Gold Star for Sustainability

The 3D food printer is a kitchen device of the future and is a food preparation tool that can compliment efforts in culinary kitchens, restaurants, canteens as well as in the home. It is currently being used in commercials kitchens and restaurants and is expected to become as common as the microwave.

With the implementation of 3D food printing, there can be reduction in food waste and better utilization of seafood byproducts. Additionally, 3D food printing can be used to increase consumer engagement and seafood appeal.

Recently, Iceland´s first 3D food printing focus groups were conducted investigating how Baby Boomers and Millennials perceive 3D printed fish and there is good news. Many participants regarded food printing as positive candidate for utilizing seafood byproducts and for encouraging the modern consumer and the iGeneration to eat more seafood.

These are the first in-person focus groups in Iceland where 3D printed fish was presented to the participants and provoked not only discussion around 3D food printing, but seafood and seafood sustainability.

A modern presentation of a haddock dish: 3D food printed, baked, and served to the focus group participants. The formulation was printed with the Foodini 3D food printer made by Natural Machines. Foodini is the new generation kitchen appliance that combines technology, food, art and design to enable for preparation of sustainable, healthy foods in the kitchen. It is not meant to replace culinary chefs and expertise, nor all of your kitchen devices, but compliment what you can do with food ingredients.

What are the key factors for future developments and 3D seafood printing? From the focus group findings, key factors are awareness and outreach, convenience, and the option to buy ready to print cartridges. The Rannís Technology Development Fund (Tækniþróunarsjóður) project Fiskur framtíðarinnar (Future Fish) and the AVS Rannsóknasjóður í Sjávarútvegi funded Project Nýjar tækniumbyltandi sjávarafurðir (New and disruptive ready to use seafood products) are making it possible to address these factors.

Matís is leading the research to address these key factors. Matís technical 3D food chef, Dr. Holly T. Kristinsson has been working on formulations and parameters from byproduct fish mince as well as protein isolate and surimi made from byproduct mince. Findings from the focus group study were presented at the 17th Nordic Sensory Workshop: Making Sense held at Matís, Reykjavík, Iceland.

What the consumer wants, consumer trust, and addressing consumer environmental concerns are critical and how to best utilize our marine and natural food resources is a key aim of Matís and these projects. Sensory team evaluation and the development of sustainable food products go hand in hand, and Matís has teams working together to fulfill both aspects of development. As we further develop expertise in 3D printed seafood formulations, it will be important to reach all generations and educate consumers about sustainability and the health benefits of fish. 3D food printing can be fun, appealing to our senses, and a consumer-centric engaging experience that can increase awareness about seafood importance, seafood value, and seafood sustainability. Ultimately, we hope this work really does change and influence attitudes towards seafood, nutrition, and the environment and results in significant increases in seafood added value. Future seafood creations are untapped and we are excited to advance Icelandic seafood on various fronts through 3D food printing and sustainable raw materials.

Examples of surimi and protein isolate formulations and preparation parameters that have come to life with the future kitchen device, the 3D food printer. Left: haddock mince castle, Middle: cod surimi pasta filled with pesto, Bottom Left: protein isolate surimi flower, Bottom Right: Salted Cod and Potatoes volcano.

New immersive 3D printed food art experiences can be beautiful and tasty. In the picture below, 3D food printed, multicolor protein isolate surimi made from byproduct mince is displayed in packaging. The 3D food printed protein isolate-surimi triangles were formulated and printed in collaboration with Matís and Rebekka Egilsdóttir, Icelandic University of the Arts.

Product design project done in collaboration with Matís. Photo and product packaging by Rebekka Egilsdóttir, Icelandic University of Arts.