Some of you may be confused by the title... what do printers have anything to do with the future of food? Well at the moment, not much. But what if we could go to a little machine in your kitchen and print food at your own will, as seen in many sci-fi movies and TV shows.
Well let me start by telling you what technology already exists. A number of scientific companies are developing various bio-technologies that would allow tissue and organs to be printed on demand. Organovo is one of these companies, they have developed three-dimensional technology to create tissue for surgical applications. There's a lot of research going on by other companies as well including Invetech, the US military, the Wake Forest Institute, etc. This in its self is and will be an amazing advancement... being able to print skin and organs for medical and surgical use would truly change the world.
Although the possible advancement that I am talking to you about today would change things just as much. If we can print biological human cells and for organs and skin, then surely printing meat as a food product would be the next progression. Imagine being able to print a huge steak from a cartridge filled with beef cells! I'm no scientist but I'm sure this would be possible, and if so then the possibilities would be endless. Obviously at the moment the funding and concentration is on developing this technology for medical purposes, but maybe in the not so distant future you'll go into your very small kitchen that consists of an odd printer like device that prints some nice chicken meat, cooks it and then dresses it for you!