The food industry is showing a dramatic shift from ‘good for all’ food products to ‘good for you’ personalisation. At the same time, resource scarcity and climate change demand an exploration of new processing routes using alternative, plant-based proteins. Food producers need solutions to address these challenges and help maintain their competitive edge. TNO and DFPI are at the forefront of exploration of how 3D Food Printing may be the answer.

Multi nozzle extrusion set-up

Accommodating the shift to printed food

Together with Wageningen University and Research and Eindhoven University of Technology, TNO founded the Digital Food Processing Initiative (DFPI): a consortium that combines the very latest in technological advancements with the most cutting-edge food science research. DFPI offers companies in the food industry true added value in the search for delicious, nutritious and unique food products. Offering both fundamental and applied research capabilities, DFPI is a one-stop shop for all of your 3D Food Printing needs.

Reaching beyond the norm

TNO and DFPI focus on innovations that exceed the capabilities of commercially available 3D printers. With expert knowledge on equipment, process engineering and materials related to 3D Food Printing, DFPI enables companies to create tailor-made solutions to their most pressing food challenges. From healthy, personalised food products to reduced food waste, and from the protein challenge to scale-up: whatever your 3D Food Printing objective, the experts at DFPI can help.

From selective eaters to high performers

3D printing snack design

TNO and DFPI have already come together to develop a wide range of solutions for the world’s leading food brands and consumers. For example, our work with pasta giant Barilla resulted in a solution for unique pasta shapes, and a configuration that would allow for unique pasta dishes to be printed and served in the home, thereby solidifying Barilla’s position as a market leader.

DFPI is also working closely with the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) on personalised combat snacks that provide soldiers with the specific nutrition they need for the tasks they expect to undertake: from a day spent focussing in a simulator to a 60-kilometre hike through the jungle carrying combat gear. By adjusting the nutritional content of the snacks, the MoD can expect to get the most out of their highly trained forces.

Co-axial Printing set-up

Addressing the challenges

With each innovation and project, TNO and DFPI try to unlock the full potential of 3D printing technology towards more personalised and healthy food. Our specific expertise in process engineering and food science ensure that taste, texture, quality and appeal never fall out of scope. Our track record for translating knowledge into healthy nutrition speaks for itself.

With the latest technology, equipment and know-how, DFPI aims to create a world-leading ecosystem of companies and knowledge institutes that combine high-tech systems with food sciences to create a healthier, tastier world for us all, and a viable business case for companies that want to stand out from the crowd.

An invitation to the future

If you are interested in contributing to our exploration of 3D Food Printing, or would like to investigate new business opportunities that can give you a leg up on your competition, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Together with the world’s leading experts, we will shape the future of food.

Example of flexibel food production system

A recent example is the "Imagine" consortium started by TNO and DFPI together with GEA, Solipharma, Tate & Lyle, General Mills and Ministry of Defense. This consortium aims to develop a flexible food production system using digital processes such as 3D printing. The system will allow personalized food products to be made at any time, based on individual dietary recommendations.

It remains difficult for companies to convert knowledge and data about health and nutrition into attractive food products that can be efficiently produced. The consortium is firstly focusing on the use of 3D printed food for performance enhancement in a military environment and secondly it is looking at the possibilities of personalized food within a rehabilitation program for COPD patients. The technology within this project is initially being studied in certain performance and healthcare settings, but is expected to soon be available to all.



Next-Generation Food & Pharma Printing Capabilities

Additive Manufacturing – or 3D printing – of food and pharmaceuticals has been recognised as a potentially market-changing advancement in health and nutrition. TNO has been developing Additive Manufacturing... Read more

Ing. Daniel van der Linden