The future is Foodini: An interview with Natural Machines

Imagine having quick, easy access to some of your favorite snacks and dishes without harmful additives, preservatives and foreign chemicals that you can’t pronounce. It’s comforting to think that in the future we won’t have to compromise our health to get quick meals and we won’t have to give up our time to get satisfying, healthy meals. Headquartered in Barcelona, Natural Machines is developing a groundbreaking device to ensure that someday everyone can have access to quick meals made with fresh ingredients right in their homes. We recently sat down with Lynette Kucsma, the co-founder of Natural Machines, to talk about their innovative new product, Foodini, and the company’s imminent revolution of the food industry. Watch the video below and continue reading for more information about Natural Machines’ latest innovation.

After noticing the ongoing problem in the food industry with the proliferation of processed and packaged foods, makers at Natural Machines worked hard to offer a solution that would give people the option to quickly process healthy, organic products in their own homes and on their own time. With Foodini, a next level 3D food printer, Natural Machines have essentially developed a local manufacturing appliance. Making the case that most processed foods are essentially 3D printed on industrial machines as it is, the makers of Foodini believe that a 3D printing kitchen appliance is simply the next logical step in the industry.

“We think Foodini can be a kitchen revolution similar to how the microwave did it back in the ’70s,” says Kucsma of the new product. Joining the team as co-founder in mid 2013, Kucsma has worked in the technology industry from startups to Fortune 500 all around the world for almost two decades. Coming to Natural Machines from a previous position at Microsoft, she possesses just the right amount of industry knowledge – combined with an eye for healthy consumption and nutrition – to pioneer a device that uses technology to promote sustainable living. With Foodini, developers hope to get people back into their own kitchen and away from processed and packaged foods by giving them a way to make healthy foods from scratch in a time-saving, easy manner.

chocolate snowflake printed with Foodini

Technology mixed with food makes for a great dish

Take a moment to imagine a few fresh ingredients in your fridge are a couple days away from going off. Detecting this, a device similar to Foodini suggests recipes that you can quickly prepare with these ingredients based on your personal eating habits and previous dishes, ultimately eliminating food waste. This is the kind of forward-thinking technology that the Foodini hopes to bring to the market in the very near future. “The kitchen will get smarter,” says Kucsma of Foodini’s potential. As a connected device – meaning it is connected to the Internet – Foodini gives users accessibility to a wide range of recipes from the device’s built-in touchscreen or even laptops, tablets and mobile phones. The device also has the potential to connect with wearable technology that tracks fitness such as smart watches, allowing for an appliance that is truly customizable to individual nutrition and health.

Freshly made and easily assembled

Aside from its innovative connectivity, Foodini stands out from other 3D food printers for many other reasons. One of its most exciting features is its ability to print with a wide range of fresh ingredients. Developers have managed to give users true freedom in their culinary creations by giving Foodini an open capsule system. This simply means that by using the five stainless steel capsules shipped with each printer, users can easily print foods with multiple ingredients and at different temperatures (the capsules can be heated) for an end product that is fresh, simple, and does not compromise taste.

Additionally, Foodini was initially developed as a kitchen appliance as opposed to a 3D printer. Made with food-grade and safe materials, the Foodini is designed to look like the average kitchen tool and measures to about the size of a microwave. Foodini also features a simple, sleek design that would blend seamlessly into any kitchen and can withstand the wear and tear of daily use just like any other appliance on your countertop.

foodini_curry sampler
star curry sampler printed with Foodini

Coming soon

Although the team at Natural Machines hope to market Foodini as a common kitchen appliance in the future, the product is currently being marketed toward professional kitchen users before expanding to consumers and the general public. Eventually, Foodini will appear on every kitchen counter as an essential alternative to damaging, processed foods. Additionally, Kucsma tells us that the team is also developing a feature that will enable Foodini to cook food in addition to printing them. Until then, Foodini is only available to select early-access clients, who will act as crucial testers in the overall implantation of the product. Foodini is scheduled to be released between late 2016 and early 2017, and will be priced at approximately $2,000 (£1520). While an expensive price tag for a household appliance, Kucsma assures us that this is highly reasonable for a 3D printer and for the amount of time the Foodini will save users.

foodini_hummus castle
hummus castle printed with Foodini

An appliance of the future

Of course, the developers of Foodini do not wish to replace the expertise and artistry of professional chefs or basic cooking skills. They believe that Foodini will become an important tool in the kitchen arsenal, just like a steak knife or a stove. In the end, Kucsma tells us, chefs are still the ones putting together the tasty ingredients and recipes that run through Foodini, and nothing will surpass the precision of human touch. Foodini is simply meant to further simplify the cooking process in similar ways that previous appliances like the oven have done. While the Foodini may eventually become a customizable alternative to vending machines, it will not completely industrialize the art of cooking.

mini pizza printed with Foodini prior to cooking

To learn more about Foodini and its applications, please visit the Natural Machines website. The company is already in secret talks with many big food industry partners and has teamed up with several Michelin-star rated chefs to test their innovative product. Be sure to stay tuned on 3D Printing Industry for any updates from this exciting product.