In the 1989 hit movie Back to the Future II, Marty McFly travels to the year 2015 to see flying hoverboards, powered shoe laces and a neat kitchen appliance called the food hydrator. The film shows a grandmother version of Lorraine popping a tiny pizza in the oven and tuning the device to “hydrate to level 4” with a miracle full-sized pizza ready to eat 12 seconds later.
While we’ve seen more than a few technology advancements come true the kitchen appliance industry has fallen short of the expectations set by this cult film. However, as of late we might be closer than we think: BeeHex 3D food printing, the start up based out of Texas claims it can 3D print some great tasting pizza without using human hands.
To help consumers decide whether 3D printed pizza looks tasty, founding CMO Jordan French offered up a few photos that he says emphasize 3D food printing’s number one benefit: Customization.
In an interview French relayed that every year Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Papa Murphy’s and a number of smaller chains make customized heart-shaped pizza with sales to the tune of nearly 1 million pizzas every Valentine’s Day. “There’s a huge market for custom-shaped pizza that remains untapped,” says French.
And BeeHex could very well be the company that taps that market. The food industry, while innovative, is notorious for bungling research and development in both processed and fresh foods. What restaurant chains and food operators do well is learn and know what consumers want, but they have a difficult time delivering it.
For the second year in the row around Valentine’s Day Hershey’s Company debuted unattractive Reese’s heart-shaped peanut butter cups that caused a backlash because of the way they looked, as reported by the Daily Dot. 3D food printing could be the way forward, according to industry experts familiar with the industry’s troubles. Redeemably Hershey’s has teamed up with at least one technology company to print photos-on-demand from a photo booth– in chocolate.
The pizza industry could be in for another revolution if 3D pizza printing can prove to be a reliable, safe and fast method of making one of America’s favorite cuisines. The industry has tailwinds, with Restaurant Business Magazine reporting Blaze Pizza, MOD Pizza and Pieology topping the list of fastest-growing fast-casual restaurant chains. According to French both existing and new fast-casual chains have shown interest in adding 3D printing technology to their tool chest for making custom pizzas fast and consistently.
While the food hydrator may be a few decades away we just might see a comparable technology make its way in to commercial kitchens at your local fast-casual pizza joint. Then, we too, can be wowed like Marty McFly.