According to the the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), around 30%-40% of the entire food supply in the United States goes to waste. A large part of the problem is due to the avoidance of "ugly" fruits and vegetables. Some of that unappealing produce never even makes it to supermarket shelves, as companies believe that customers will completely ignore it.
In South Africa, about 30% of edible fruit and vegetable crops are rejected for sale simply because of appearance. This information was shared by Studio H, a company responsible for creating South Africa’s first food 3D printer.
To demonstrate what the printer is capable of, Studio H collected ugly fruits and vegetables rejected by supermarkets and customers, pureed them, and 3D printed them into more appealing shapes.
"3D printing could be the perfect vehicle to reduce food waste," said Studio H founder Hannerie Visser. "To experiment with the medium, we designed Salad 2.0. We cooked down a bunch of unconventional-looking fruit and veg that would normally have gone to waste into purees, and added gelatine so we could 3D print the concentrate into colourful three-dimensional jelly shapes high in nutritional content. Imagine serving these to picky children?"
Indeed, 3D printing ugly produce is an innovative way of helping reduce the worldwide food waste problem. It also helps people realize that rejecting perfectly fine tasting fruits and vegetables because of appearance is irresponsible.
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