October 2, 2018

#TheFutureOfFood: Do you eat or experience your dinner?

FOOD. By definition - any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. In our current (human and western) reality - a philosophy, a trend, a hobby, a job field, a political issue, a market segment, a hashtag… we could go on and on. No matter if you look around during lunch or scroll through your social media, you can spot that food is not only being “eaten” or “cooked” anymore. It’s being photographed, discussed, styled, designed, 3D-printed… Will experiencing food replace eating in our dictionaries for good?

One of the 3D-printed dishes which you can experience in Restaurant Smink in the Netherlands

If you think now that this whole craziness is not for you, you’ve been always avoiding the food porn hype and you just want to keep eating your sandwich, we have bad news -  you actually experience this sandwich anyway. This is because the ongoing food revolution is not only about publishing pictures of your lunch on Instagram. It’s about understanding the complex relations between neurology, psychology and food science, which food industry learns from. Neurogastronomy and gastrophysics - two science disciplines which research these relations - are and will be constantly growing. But what are they about in a nutshell, and what does 3D Food Printing have to do with it?

Even if you consume your sandwich only to provide your body with needed nutrients, your senses are stimulated during that process. Yes, all senses - it is now well established that it’s not only taste that influences the way we perceive food. Is your sandwich made from very soft bread or crispy french baguette? Did you add lettuce to make it taste more fresh? How did you pack it? Does it taste better eaten during a break with some friends or while you’re running in a rush for a train? Smell, sound, shape, colour, packaging, situation, location - all these elements have a huge impact on our food experience. This is what neurogastronomisits and gastrophysitians study, and what chefs as well as marketeers from food industry use, in order to make us visit their restaurants and buy their products. No matter if we talk about high-end cuisine, where famous chefs like Heston Blumenthal create truly innovative food experiences for their guests, or about mass-scale food production, where Cadbury rounds its chocolate bars on the corners, to make them taste sweeter and more creamy. If you like it or not, you experience your sandwich in a certain way and most probably, someone has designed this food experience for you.

3D Food Printing technology has a big role to play in this food experience revolution. It provides tools for creating dishes and products in shapes which were not possible before, makes it possible to experiment with flavours and textures, to influence our food perception in new and innovative ways. Chefs, pastry chefs, caterers, as well as manufacturers from the food industry, already use byFlow’s 3D Food Printer, the Focus, to offer their customers better and unique food experiences. It’s expected to only grow in the future, in line with our raising awareness of the food mysteries and increasing demand for what goes far beyond eating.

Time for dinner? Have a great experience then! Even when you go for something simple today, according to a famous gastrophisitian Charles Spence, no matter what and where we eat, “the pleasures of the table reside in the mind, not in the mouth”.


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