Novedge: Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do
Lynette Kucsma: I am the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and one of the co-Founders of Natural Machines. I’m passionate about healthy eating, marketing and technology. Weave that together with my tech and consumer professional background, and it all comes together for me at Natural Machines.
Novedge: What exactly are you developing at Natural Machines?
Lynette Kucsma: Our launch product is a 3D food printer. We call it Foodini. We are using an open capsule model, meaning the consumer prepares and places their own fresh ingredients in Foodini.
Foodini is really about promoting making foods with fresh ingredients and getting people to eat less pre-processed food. It takes on the difficult or time-consuming parts of food preparation that often discourage people from creating homemade food, whether it’s in a home kitchen or a restaurant. Foodini is a new generation kitchen appliance promoting home cooking, not replacing it.
Novedge: What are the challenges specific to 3d printing food?
Lynette Kucsma: Working with food is an additional challenge for a 3D printer. Traditional 3D printers work with one type of “ingredient”, e.g., photopolymers/ plastics. It’s easier to work with one ingredient to make it the right texture/format to print. With food, textures and formats vary tremendously. We are working to automate as much as possible in order to ensure consistent results.
Novedge: Why would anyone want to 3d print food?
Lynette Kucsma: Today, too many people eat too much convenience foods, or pre-processed foods, or pre-made meals – many with ingredients that are unidentifiable to the common consumer, versus homemade, healthy foods and snacks. But there is the problem of people not having enough time to make homemade foods from scratch. Enter Foodini. Foodini is a kitchen appliance that takes on the difficult parts of making food that is hard or time consuming to make fully by hand. By 3D printing food, you automate some of the assembly or finishing steps of home cooking, thus making it easier to create freshly-made meals and snacks.
Take an example of ravioli. How often have you made homemade ravioli? Rolling out the dough to a thin layer, adding the filling, adding the top layer of dough, and then cutting it to size takes time. Let Foodini do it for you. Simply load the dough and filling into Foodini, and Foodini will print individual raviolis for you. The 3D printing of food – in this case, creating a layer of pasta, a layer of filling, and covering it with a layer of pasta again – is assembling the ravioli. The same as you would do by hand, except Foodini automates it: you don’t have to manually do all the work… Foodini does it for you. Less mess in your kitchen, more time to do other things. Plus, have fun! Make the ravioli into different shapes and sizes. After Foodini is done, put the ravioli in boiling water to cook, or, for a modern twist, bake them in the oven.
Or take an example of crunchy, savory snacks: pretzels, breadsticks, crackers, etc. Don't buy the prepackage versions that are shelf-stable for years, with preservatives and usually too much salt, etc. With Foodini, you can make your own versions of these convenience foods people have grown accustom to, but creating healthier versions made with fresh ingredients.
Novedge: Will your printers be available to consumers?
Lynette Kucsma: Yes, in the second half of 2014.
Novedge: What is next for you and your team?
Lynette Kucsma: 2014 is our product launch year, and Foodini will start appearing in kitchens – in homes, restaurants and elsewhere. People can print with fresh foods using published recipes, or make and share their own food creations. We’re currently finalising the details of Foodini and production details. We look forward to introducing a fun way to help people create fresh foods.
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