This year will see a chocolately Christmas indeed for those home users and food professionals open to innovation with 3D chocolate printing. This Christmas, one of the pioneers of culinary printing, Choc Edge, is offering the newest version of its Choc Creator 3D chocolate printer for a discounted price of £3,200, against their usual retail price of £3,888.
Mesoamerican cultures such as the Aztecs are probably best known for being a civilisation that invented the wheel, sacrificial religions, prophesies about 2012, fake crystal skulls and astonishingly beautiful artwork. News to myself was that the remote civilisations of the new world were behind the invention of one of the world’s favourite foods: Chocolate! By the power of the instant learning centre that is the internet I can also share with you that the very word chocolate originates in Mesoamerica, with the etymology traced to the Classical Nahuatl word, xocolātl meaning “bitter water,” as the cacao was taken as a drink. Cacao seeds were so treasured by the Aztecs that they were used as a form of currency. I wonder what those cultures would have made of 3D chocolate printing?
It’s a number of years now since the open-source Fab@HomeSolid Freeform Fabrication 3D printer was produced. The printer offered a broader range of printing materials via it’s syringe-based deposition system, including foodstuffs such as icing sugar – taking a different direction from the RepRap Fused Filament Fabrication project that was contemporary to it. 3D printing foodstuffs has come a long way in recent years, with a number of smaller manufacturers now producing a variety of food printers, and a proportion of those producing deserts, such as chocolate. Choc Edge holds the prestige to be the first company to produce a dedicated printer for chocolate. Alongside Piq Chocolates, Chocobyte, Chocobot, 3DiTaly, WASP, etc. these pioneering Small and Medium Enterprises (plus industry giant 3D Systems) are seeking to produce the best chocolate in the most convenient way – some are aiming to be cheap as chips for the home consumer market, such as the Chocobot, whilst others stratify more towards food professionals and restaurants.
The company has established a strong reputation, with appearances on major media such as the BBC and China’s CCTV and working with big brand names such as Google, Nokia and DHL. Choc Edge highlights the brand raising potential of this innovative technology, especially with such a universally appealing pleasure as chocolate: 3D printing makes news stories, new applications garner attention, and chocolate is seen as a fun highlight of a balanced diet by many millions of people. This provides Choc Edge with a high tier sales channel to large businesses. They also offer an online service for companies seeking to take advantage of this potential that are yet to feel ready to invest in a printer of their own. As the company states, the applications of their printer for business include:
- Engaging customers in the process of creating added-value products and unforgettable consumption experience.
- Providing customers with a range of unique, innovative and personalised products.
- Providing on-demand chocolate-making services to meet customers needs rapidly.
- Digitalising product design, production and service processes for efficient business operation.
- Connecting with a digitalised design library and store to provide design and print options with no limitation.
- Offering innovative on-site printing services to revolutionise the consumer’s shopping experience.
- Reducing waste and repeated investment in moulding tools or staff training.
The company has restaurants in mind as a key market; plus consumers who are able to splash out on a luxury level food printer. Their PR points towards highly personalised gifts as a particularly beneficial use of their machine. Other consumer benefits include:
- Offering great flexibility to create unique and innovative chocolate designs.
- Creating 3D shapes with an internal hollow structure, which makes the most efficient use of chocolate.
- Repeatedly producing high-quality detailed and sophisticated designs.
- Providing a new opportunity to use chocolate with various flavours and colours for printing.
The Choc Edge 3D printer package also includes a starter kit to get your chocolate printing needs in order: syringes, tips, chocolate and designs, a free one-day training, technical support and three months warranty. The Choc Creator 2 feels like a reasonably large sized investment for the average consumer, perhaps makes an applicable attraction for innovative food pro’s, and a step out of the mainstream for marketeers.
So, this Christmas can offer some genuine 3D printing fun for your family, piquancy for your palette and help your brand taste less bland: Chocolate + Christmas + 3D Printing = Perfection?