NASA has funded the development of a 3d food printer to feed astronauts in space. But the developer thinks the machine could also have a purpose closer to home: ending world hunger.
The engineer of the so-called "universal food synthesizer," Anjan Contractor of Systems & Materials Research Corporation, told business news blog Quartz that he envisions every kitchen having a 3d food printer to keep the planet fed. People could buy the nutritionally complete cartridges of powder and oils at the store and keep them for up to 30 years, he said.
“I think, and many economists think, that current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people sufficiently,” Contractor told Quartz. “So we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food.”
Ending hunger is a giant task. More than one billion people in the developing world are under-nourished, according to non-profit Freedom From Hunger.
Other mass-produced food has been hailed as a possible hunger cure. Plumpy’nut, a nutrient-packed peanut paste developed by Dr. André Briend, is now consumed by children in many developing nations , the New York Times reported. UNICEF is the "world's primary" buyer, the paper said.
As of September 2012, UNICEF planned to buy 32,000 metric tons of Plumpy'Nut in 2013, an increase of 4,000 tons over 2012, according to CNBC.