Revolution in the food industry: food from a 3D printer
3D printing with metals and plastics is now commonplace. But 3D printing in the food industry has sounded more science fiction – until now! That could soon change. Innovative Lithuanian company Super Garden has developed a 3D printing prototype that can print out freeze-dried foods at will, from vegetables to different types of meat or even desserts.
Super Garden’s business success so far has its origins in the technique of freeze-drying. This process retains up to 98% of the nutrients in the dehydrated product while retaining the original shape of the food. Freeze-dried foods have even gone into space, with NASA using the technique to provide astronauts with nutritious and easy-to-eat meals. Freeze-drying – also known as ‘lyophilisation’ – can be used to preserve not only plant-based foods, but also animal-based foods such as cheese or other dairy products, poultry and other meats. According to Laura Kaziukonienė, managing director of Super Garden, which offers a wide range of freeze-dried products, producing animal-based freeze-dried products is still an exception worldwide. She sees this as a promising niche market.
Combining freeze-dried powders into 3D-printed food cubes
Super Garden’s latest revolutionary innovation is a 3D printer for food. The company is actively working with Lithuanian scientists, who have been first to fully develop this innovative solution for the food industry. How will the 3D printer work? “Imagine want beef, beetroot and broccoli for lunch. You press a button, and the 3D printer immediately prints out the selected food cubes,” says Laura Kaziukonienė.
She adds: “This is a global innovation. Using the special technology developed and patented by Super Garden, it is possible to combine different freeze-dried powders in a single cube. People will be able to choose from different products and create customised recipes, the print out the cubes instantly. A prototype machine, similar to an office coffee maker, is now going into the final testing phase. We plan to have a final version in October, and then the devices can be launched.”
Going international – now targeting Germany
Super Garden’s freeze-dried products are already available in the UK, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and France. There is also growing demand in Ireland, Japan, USA and other markets. Super Garden recently began collaborating with a company in Germany, Foodist. Super Garden’s freeze-dried carrots are part of a subscription box from Foodist aimed at baking cakes. Now, Super Garden wants to become even better known in Germany. “This market likes organic products that are also different. That’s why our freeze-dried vegetables and spices could be an interesting choice for German consumers,” says managing director Laura Kaziukonienė. Super Garden already has an Amazon account in Germany and makes most of its sales through e-commerce. Currently, the company is looking for its own representative in Germany. Super Garden also plans to present its products and its revolutionary 3D printer at trade fairs this autumn, including ISM Cologne and ANUGA.
Lithuania is a perfect place for women to join tech industries as the country is one of the fastest-growing centres of life sciences in Europe and has a vibrant ICT, financial technologies, video game, and laser sectors. The start-up community, which has already exceeded one thousand companies, attracts talents from all over the world to innovate and think about solutions that can contribute to a global change for the better in many spheres, ranging from gene editing to solving circular economy challenges.
In implementing the Strategy for the Presentation of Lithuania Abroad 2020-2030 and ensuring the country’s overall positioning as “open for co-creation”, the entrepreneurship and export development agency Enterprise Lithuania presented the Co-created in Lithuania country of origin brand and unified national export stand concept at the Lithuanian Business Forum.