Dr. Mohd Ifwat Mohd Ghazali
Dr. Mohd Ifwat Mohd GhazaliPensyarah, Fakulti Sains dan Teknologi
Dr. Ahmad Syukran Baharuddin
Dr. Ahmad Syukran BaharuddinPensyarah, Fakulti Syariah dan Undang-undang

Malaysia among other countries worldwide is at risk of food insecurity in the future. The overreliance on imported food from other countries might create a chain of events that can disrupt the food supply for Malaysia. Moreover, there is a growing concern about the low quality of food consumed by the population, leading to health issues. To address these challenges, the emphasis is on developing food products that cater to consumers’ specific needs. This often involves incorporating new technologies into food processing methods to create innovative and unique products.

In the kitchen, the conventional array of cooking utensils includes a stove, an oven, a grill, a blender, a mixer as well as pots and pans which are common households in all the houses around the world. However, the culinary landscape is on the verge of a paradigm shift with the introduction of the food 3D printer. This high-tech appliance has emerged as the future of kitchen appliances and is set to revolutionize the cooking industry and completely redefine the concept of gastronomy, giving conventional cooking tools a new makeover.

3D printers have always garnered significant interest in a plethora of industries, including aerospace, medicine, dentistry, automotive, and education with their capabilities to form three-dimensional objects by using layering processes based on digital models. Imagine an experience eating edible creation from a machine that fabricates complex structures that encompass an array of edible ingredients with such precision and efficiency. Now, the food industry is exploring such 3D printing technology to create new futuristic applications that will  open new possibilities for chefs, nutritionists, and food enthusiasts, allowing them to innovate  entirely new recipes and change completely how we experience food.

Food 3D printing technology is creating substantial advantages compared to its counterpart in terms of its remarkable capabilities to customize and tailor food based on the specific needs, dietary requirements, and personal preferences of the consumers. This can be achieved when the food 3D printers can precisely place specific ingredients at a certain location in the food structure, resulting in optimal flavor with unique shapes and textures while also catering to dietary restrictions by optimizing the nutritional contents. These unique capabilities allow the usage of such technology not only for restaurants but also hospitals that cater specialized food for patients with specific requirements.

Furthermore, with the growing concern of food security having taken the headlines worldwide, food 3D printers are considered a part of the solutions. Food 3D printers allow the utilization of food resources effectively where the portion of the food printed is precisely measured and controlled to provide the accurate amount of ingredients to create the dish which ultimately helps reduce overconsumption and minimize waste during cooking. Furthermore, food 3D printing enables the production to be made locally hence lowering the carbon emission due to transportation.

Additionally, food 3D printing has progressed significantly in terms of materials utilization. In the early stages of development, the commonly employed materials or ingredients are chocolate, cookie dough, and cheese. The reason behind choosing these ingredients is primarily  driven by the ability of the ingredients to transform the liquid state when melted to a solid state after solidification rather quickly. The more recent examples of futuristic ingredients are cultured meat which derives from cultivating animal cells and meat analogs which are made from plant-based materials such as peas and soybeans. This creates a new phase of sustainable food production which has long-term implications on a global scale and addresses environmental challenges.

In conclusion, the landscape of culinary innovation is still being explored, and food 3D printing stands at the forefront of the technology revolution in the food industry. As Malaysia strives for the future, embracing such technologies is vital to compete with the demand for food production. By utilizing the potential of food 3D printing, Malaysia can increase the productivity, efficiency, and sustainability of the food industry, further cementing its position as the leader in the global food market and commitment to a prosperous future.