Tag Archives: food

The implications of printed food


New year, new story detail. I was hunting around for a novel type of ‘crime’ for my sci-fi detective character to get embroiled with yesterday afternoon and found myself wondering about the implications of food replicator technology or 3D printed food like Pizza or Gnocci. What are the base materials? Would they be able to work off a basic amino acid powder mix, or something a little more familiar? How much adulteration would one of the units be able to take in the form of cheaper bulking agents before it broke down, as manufacturers try to minimise outlay? Adulteration might become a problem because, notoriously like white bread in Late Victorian times, ingredients like Chalk and Alum were used to bulk out and bleach wheat flour. At the time, the practice of adding these bulking agents were credited with leading to widespread malnutrition until the abuses were (mostly) stamped out. However, A more detailed analysis, shows that the situation was a good deal more complex than it might appear. So while all is not doom and gloom, instances of adulteration might occur as organised gangs infiltrate the 3D food replication chain. Maybe even instances of illegal drugs accidentally making it into the food supply.

Household replicators as an extension of 3D printing technology will initially be a status symbol, producing everything from a new pair of shoes to Sunday dinner or special order Pizza. Eventually reducing the need for agriculture as more people turn away from food productions less palatable practices, like slaughtering for meat, or simply even the messier end of cooking. Why bother with all that tedious slicing, mixing and dicing when a single machine can produce perfect hot meals every time? 3D food printing technology may be closer than we think. As for broader applications, a German company (Bizoon) is actually working on easy to chew versions of 3D printed food for Senior Citizens and high energy ‘Sports’ foods.

The possible social implications are enormous. A shift in the employment market away from manual fast food production, and there’s plenty of scope in there to experiment with crime related storylines. Ergo, I’m currently playing around with a bunch of short story type works (4-10,000 words) using the technology as a sub-theme. Maybe they’ll turn into something, maybe not. At the moment I’m purely in the note taking stage of research.

As for bribery and corruption; while technology advances so rapidly it’s often hard to keep track, it is my sad observation that human nature evolves at the speed of a heavily sedated slug.

A big thank you to Kobo


I’d just like to say a big thank you to the support guys at Kobo.  For their sheer dogged professionalism when dealing with a troublesome nobody.  I.E. Me.  It may have taken a few days but they came up with the goods, and cynical old me is seriously impressed.

The royalty payments issue has a solution, which will be applied in the morning, UK time.  The uploaded Kobo eBook editions will follow, and other distribution processes allowing, will be available shortly. For the first time in what seems an age I’m feeling guardedly optimistic.

At present I’m having a suspiciously nice time.  Have just come back from a quintessentially British event called ‘The Pudding club‘ at the Three Ways Hotel, Mickleton, Gloucestershire, England.  Kind of a dessert lovers medieval banquet without the food throwing, off key singing, mock jousting or cosplay. Their Bread and Butter pudding is a smooth revelation to the taste buds, surpassed only by the flavour firework display on the tongue called Lemon & Lime Charlotte. Laura and Jo conjured a booking for this very popular weekly event, seemingly from nowhere, bless both sets of their tiny cotton socks, and a good time was had by all. We even bought the cookbook. Recommended for the more mature foodie.