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3D Printed Food? What next?

Technology is has a big impact on how we live in this modern world, it is even revolutionizing how we make food!

A Swedish town is planning to use technology to entice older people to eat more. Halmstad municipality on the west coast is planning to use 3D-printers to take purified broccoli and chicken, and make it more appetising. Purified foods are usually services in circular slabs, however with the help of 3D printers, they hope to re-shape it into florets and drumsticks.

Purified foods are eaten by many people who find it difficult to chew and swallow. This can be caused by an number of things including dental and oral issues, weakening of the muscles around the oesophagus, mouth or oesophagus cancer, conditions that affect the nervous system, such as a stroke, head injury, or dementia, etc. People who find eating difficult are at risk of getting malnourished. Research published in 2017 showed over two thirds of older adults aged at least 85 years-old who were newly admitted to a New Zealand hospital were malnourished or at risk of malnutrition, and a third were at risk of dysphagia (swallowing difficulties). This is why textured modified food are important. However, as they say we “eat with our eyes”, therefore the appearance of the food is important to actually get people to eat it.

The researcher who is coordinating the project, Evelina Höglund, says the issue is a daily battle. “It’s a big problem that people who get consistency-adapted food get malnourished because they eat too little,” she told Telegraph.

The challenge, according to Ms Höglund, is to adapt printers designed for medical technology to be hygienic, and able to print in large enough quantities to serve everyone. First trial meals are expected to be served in care homes in Halmstad and Helsingborg by the end of this year.

Could this work here?

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About Eve Williams

Eve Williams is the Content Developer and Social Media Administration for Eldernet. She is currently studying towards her Masters at the University of Canterbury. She has a passion for learning new things.