3D printing may or may not be the future of food, but for now it's at least the future of fancy candy. A 3D printer designed to print custom gummy candy hits the U.S. today. Designed by a UK company, the printers will be featured at several locations of the high-end sweets emporium Dylan's Candy Bar, which is owned by Dylan Lauren (daughter of fashion mogul Ralph Lauren).
Aptly named the Magic Candy Factory, it's reportedly the only 3D printer in the world with plug and play design software, and is capable of churning out custom-printed gummy candies in less than five minutes. A press release explains how it works: "The Magic Candy Factory is based on Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) in which a special mixture of natural vegan ingredients is heated up and applied using a nozzle to produce different shape combinations. The shapes are then turned into coded instructions, from an easy-to-use, user-friendly tablet in-store, alerting the printer where, at what speed and what frequency is needed to apply each of the layers."
Customers have "the ability to write names or special words, draw candy creations and print greetings on gummy cards"; they'll also be able to pick the color and flavor combinations (and adorn them with edible glitter or sour dust, because sure why not). The process takes approximately 10 minutes from start to finish and costs $20.
The printers will begin churning out fancy custom-printed gummy candies today at both Dylan's Candy Bar locations in Manhattan, and will subsequently roll out to other cities next week — Chicago on May 23, LA on May 28, and Miami on June 1.
Dylan's isn't the only confectioner getting into the 3D printing business: Hershey's installed a 3D printer at its Pennsylvania headquarters that can print chocolate in any number of customized shapes, and a printer marketed at pastry chefs offers the ability to make custom cake toppers, garnishes, candies, and other items. On the more nutritionally-sound end of the spectrum, custom-printed healthy snacks could be coming soon to vending machines, and the Army even wants to use 3D printing (along with wearable tech) to customize soldiers' diets.