Friday, 18 Oct 2019 12:47 GMT

Scientists step up 3D chocolate printing

You may have heard of 3D printing but you might not know that it can be used to print chocolate. Researchers at the Singapore University of Technology and Design have invented a new process for printing the popular treat with a method called ‘cold extrusion’.

Previous methods of printing chocolate have used a process called ‘hot-melt extrusion’. While this is known to be a simple, accessible method, the fact that the chocolate has to be melted between 31 to 36 degrees means it is a less flexible process for experimental chocolatiers.

Whilst cold extrusion is not temperature sensitive, it does require a special type of ink which university researchers have created for the first time.

Using the chocolate-based ink, the scientists mixed syrups and pastes with cocoa powder to change the consistency – from a creamy chocolate to the more traditional harder type.

Ci3DP [Chocolate-based Ink 3D Printing] is capable of fabricating customized food in a wide range of materials with tailored textures and optimised nutritional content

The scientists also tried out a combination of the two for people who can’t quite decide what type of chocolate they are in the mood for.

Principal investigator, assistant professor Michinao Hashimoto from the University says: “Ci3DP [Chocolate-based Ink 3D Printing] is capable of fabricating customized food in a wide range of materials with tailored textures and optimised nutritional content. This new approach also widens the industry’s capabilities in 3D food printing, allowing for the cold-extrusion of food products that are temperature-sensitive.”

If you have any comments on this story, or would like to get in touch, please email me at zoe@linkpublishing.co.uk or join the conversation on Twitter.