3D Printing

Ikea's Space 10 Shows Us the Future of the Meatball (Hint: It Includes 3D Printing!)

As the oncoming threat of global warming increases by the day, more and more countries around the world have finally started taking this threat seriously, looking at our common practices to figure out how we are contributing to the overheating of our planet. What scientists have discovered is that it isn’t our fossil fuel emitting cars or our non-degrading landfills that are the biggest threat to the environment (though I’m sure they contribute in their own way), but actually our meat industry that has been most detrimental to the Earth. Aside from the fact that most of these animals are treated inhumanely, the farming process has been slowly stripping away our fresh water and forests, contributing greatly to our environmental issues.


But one Copenhagen-based design studio called Space 10, which is actually used as the external innovation hub of Swedish furniture mega-company Ikea, is peering into the crystal ball of food to show us what type of meatballs we may need to start getting adjusted to eating in the near future. “Tomorrow’s Meatball Menu” features eight different types of meatball, each with their own type of unique (and in some ways kind of gross) production technique backing it up. Luckily for us, a 3D printed meatball made the cut, so I got a chance to visually take in a stomach-full of these conceptualized balls of “meat”.

The 3D Printed Meatball
The 3D Printed Meatball

“It’s quite difficult to picture that in the near future we will be eating insects or artificial meat. But, with the increasing demand for food, we need to start considering adding alternative ingredients to our daily menu,” said Bas van de Poel, one of the project’s creators. “You could say that Tomorrow’s Meatball gets people a little more familiar with the unfamiliar.”

Other 'Meatball' concepts
Other ‘Meatball’ concepts

The most aesthetically pleasing of the eight conceptualized menu options, the 3D printed meatball looks like a meat-made Wiffle ball. The idea behind this meatball is that a 3D printer could be used to turn more plentiful and less appetizing protein, such as beet leaves and insects, into a suddenly appealing snack. Other concepts include using algae, crispy bugs, and even our own discarded waste, all of which are as environmentally friendly as they seem weird to eat. But in order to save this planet of ours, we will likely have to sacrifice some common practices for the betterment of both ourselves and every other living being on our planet. Space 10 is making sure that this future of new-age meat includes 3D printing technology in an appetizing and conscientious form.


Check out the rest of the strange Tomorrow’s Meatball Menu items in the Space 10 Journal!