By now, you’ve probably heard that technology has advanced to the point where we can print food in 3-D, but maybe you haven’t thought about that type of printer being a household item. Hershey’s has announced a partnership with 3D Systems to make in-home food printing more appealing to regular consumers by creating a 3-D printer that will print chocolate.
Consumer printers start at about $1,000, so that first printed Hershey’s Bar is going to cost you much more than a Hershey’s Bar, or any chocolate bar, ever should. Since you need chocolate “ink” to make the bar anyway, I can’t help thinking it’s just easier and more financially feasible to buy a candy bar. It would be a novelty for the average person, and one that I think would wear off quickly.
I thought about what it would be like to have one of these chocolate printers in my house, and my imagination didn’t take me to the happy place you might imagine.
Here’s my vision of having a 3-D chocolate printer in my house: The boys and I open up the box and set up the printer. Because I have a Mac, there’s a good chance we find that the printer isn’t compatible with Apple systems — yet.
But let’s say it is. We figure out how to connect it to my laptop and program it to print a candy bar. The set up took a long time. Now it’s taking a while for the candy bar to print. My boys get impatient.
It becomes the “Hey, mom, let’s make chocolate-chip cookies” scenario. Do you know how long, in teen/tween boy time, it takes to make an entire batch of chocolate-chip cookies? The answer is, “entirely too long.” After they make the dough and get one sheet of cookies in the oven, at least a half hour has passed. They no longer care about the cookies. They just want to eat big spoonfuls of the dough — Salmonella be damned.
And so it would be with the printed candy bar. As they stood there, waiting for the candy bar to print, one of them would realize they could just eat the ink. Why wait for a candy bar?
Even if I said, “no,” somehow the ink would disappear when I wasn’t looking. No one would know what happened to it. The “Not Me” ghost from the Family Circus cartoons haunts my house regularly.
I’d end up with a $1,000 novelty printer and no ink.
I am sure that in the future, printing 3-D food will have much more practical purposes. For now, though, I can’t imagine the use it would have in my own home. Of course, there was a time I never thought I’d need a computer, or a cellphone, or an eReader, or a little camera on the back of my car to help me see what’s behind me….
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