FUTURE TECH 2025: AN INTERVIEW WITH LYNETTE KUCSMA, CO-FOUNDER & CMO AT NATURAL MACHINES
In this Future Tech interview, we’re speaking with Lynette Kucsma, the Co-Founder & CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) at Natural Machines. Lynette is a senior marketing professional with international experience and a proven track record of full marketing responsibilities in companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 organizations. Prior to Natural Machines, Lynette was a Senior Marketing/PR Manager for Microsoft. She’s passionate about healthy eating, technology and marketing. Weave that together with her tech and consumer professional background, and it all comes together at Natural Machines..
Shara Evans (SE): Greetings, this is Shara Evans, CEO of Market Clarity. Today, I’ll be speaking with Lynette Kucsma, who is the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Natural Machines.
Lynette is a powerhouse. She’s been named by CNN as one of only seven tech superheros to watch in 2015. Lynette and Natural Machines are in a really interesting space: 3D printing. It’s one of the technologies that’s on the cusp of having a major impact on how we do so many different things.
What’s fascinating about Lynette’s venture is that Natural Machines is focused on 3D printing of food. They’ve put together an appliance called Foodini.
Lynette Kucsma (LK): Thank you. Thank you for having me.
SE: It’s my pleasure. Let’s get a bit of your backstory. Why don’t you share with us some of your background and, in particular, how you got into the 3D-printing space?
LK: I’ve had a bit of a tech background — working for start-ups in the dotcom days that focused on tech, to working for big Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, focusing on their mobile-device division.
The way I got into 3D printing is actually via my husband because he came home from work one day and told me that he has a 3D printer in his office, and I really had no idea what he was talking about. I was pretty clueless about 3D printing a few years back.
It took me a while to wrap my head around it, but once I did I saw that it was a really cool technology and I had to step in a bit more and see what it could do.
BLENDING 3D PRINTING TECHNOLOGY AND FOOD
SE: That interesting. You started with your husband’s 3D printer and got curious about it. What made you think of food?
LK: Well, Natural Machines actually started seven months before I came on board, but they started out as a very different company. One of the things that’s key to mention is that Natural Machines started out focusing on a food problem, and applying technology to solve that problem, rather than using technology such as a 3D printer and saying, “What can we print with this that’s different,” and choosing food. I think that’s important just as the backstory as to why we built it and how we’re building it.
Natural Machines started out focused on sweet foods: cakes, sugar, chocolate, and selling pre-filled food capsules to make that. The premise was that, at least here in Europe, the cost of buying cakes and these types of products in the pâtisserie are very expensive because of the shipping and the packaging and the freezing. It was really more of a price issue, not the actual ingredients or the skills behind making those cakes, but the transportation and what-have-you. The idea came to use 3D printing to make it in your homes or to make it local so you would eliminate those costs.
SE: Well, I’ve seen some other things in the pastry and sweets space with 3D printing, and I suppose that’s what I would call high-end printing, in that most people wouldn’t have that in their home. It would be more likely to be used in a top-end restaurant or perhaps a pâtisserie or a bakery or somewhere that had volume. But that’s not really where you’re aiming Foodini at, is it?
LK: That’s not. Actually, what you just said is exactly what our market research was showing when Natural Machines first started with just the sweet product and pre-filled food capsules. When I learned about Natural Machines with 3D food printing, I loved the 3D-printing aspect of it, but quite honestly I was negative about it because 3D food printing sounded artificial to me. The pre-filled food capsules didn’t really help my mentality image of that.
SE: No. I think of preservatives.
LK: Exactly. That’s exactly what I thought: more processed food on the market. I’m a pretty healthy eater, so for me to look at a company and say, “Okay, chocolate cakes, pre-filled food capsules — not exactly healthy.” When I stepped into Natural Machines, I questioned the technology: can we do this with sweet and savoury food? Can we use it for meals and snacks? More importantly, can we use fresh, real wholesome ingredients to print? The answer to that was yes, and that’s where we are today.
With our venture, what we believe is that in the longer-term future, we think that 3D food printers will be in every kitchen — both professional and home kitchens.
SE: How will that change the life of, say, someone like you or I, who works full time? We have a limited amount of time for shopping for food, slicing and dicing things, preparing it, cooking it, and serving it. Will it make our lives easier, or will it make our lives more complex?
LK: It’s going make your lives easier, but it’s not the fastest way to get food. I think that’s one of the misconceptions about 3D-printed food.
What we are designing is a faster technology than a lot of other 3D printers because — let’s face it — nobody’s going to wait hours for dinner, so we have to print faster than other 3D printers.
The fastest way to get food is to buy something processed or packaged, rip it open and eat it, or throw it in a microwave and eat it. That’s going to be your fastest way. What we’re trying to do is get people back into their kitchens and start cooking more of their foods again with homemade, fresh ingredients.
Foodini is actually going to help you do things faster and easier than you can by hand or with any other kitchen appliance. It also makes less mess. You don’t have to roll out dough or make a mess on your kitchen counter. It actually does the printing for you and keeps it contained.
SE: Let’s talk about a couple of recipes that you’ve already printed with Foodini. One that I, in particular, liked was your fresh pastas and the fact that you can make them in all kinds of beautiful shapes and colours and even in appealing shapes for children. Let’s talk about the preparation that would have to be done to make it happen. Walk me through it: I get home to the kitchen — what do I need in my grocery bag? What do I have to prepare before I put things into Foodini? How do I program Foodini?
LK: What’s key to remember is that it’s really your recipes or recipes you can find on the Internet. Foodini is also an Internet of Things appliance, so it is connected to one of our cloud services that has recipes that you can browse and download. If you have a special recipe that you want to make —let’s say your grandmother’s recipe, you’re also able to do that with Foodini.
NM gnocchi pumpkin (Credit: Natural Machines)
Let’s take your scenario: say you wanted to go home tonight and have ravioli for dinner. Ravioli is a really good example because it’s layered pasta: a layer of filling, layer of pasta again. That’s where 3D printers really come into hand with the layering and the food forming.
You would actually make your dough and your filling outside of Foodini, as you would normally. Then what you would do is take those ingredients, put the dough in one Foodini capsule and the filling in another capsule. Foodini has the ability to actually change capsules as needed, so you don’t need to stand there in the kitchen and change the ingredients to print. It will do it for you automatically.
SE: How many capsules can you fit into Foodini?
LK: Up to five.
SE: That means five ingredients?
LK: It doesn’t mean five ingredients necessarily because Foodini is not a food processor, so you wouldn’t put in a capsule of water, a capsule of flour and the individual ingredients. You would make those ingredients outside of Foodini. With the ravioli example, in the capsules themselves, you would have a dough in one capsule and the filling in another capsule.
SE: You might have, say, cheese in another capsule if you decided to have another filling maybe?
LK: That’s right.
SE: How would you get the recipe to print in 3D? Like, let’s say, I have Grandma’s pasta recipe, and I’ve made the dough, and I’ve got everything in my capsules, and I want it to come out a certain shape. Do I need to be a programmer to make that happen?
3D PRINTING: AN EASY WAY TO MAKE COMPLEX FOOD SHAPES
LK: Absolutely not. At the end of the day, Foodini is a kitchen appliance. Even though it’s a 3D printer, it’s a kitchen appliance, so we need to make it very easy for people to use. What we actually found is that a lot of 3D-printing software is very complex and very intimidating. Quite honestly, I don’t even use it, and I work in the industry. It’s just too much.
NM Star Mushroom Croquettes (Credit: Natural Machines)
We actually created software called Foodini Creator that allows you to very easily and visually create your own types of shapes and dishes. You can either have the freedom to create your own or, since it’s an Internet of Things appliance, you can browse the recipes that we have on our site and download them and use them. It’s provides the freedom to do what you want to do, and we’ve made it very
SE: For instance, if I had a particular shape — let’s say, a starfish — that I wanted my pasta to come out in, would I just have something like a point-and-click interface that I’d use on the Foodini to make that happen?
LK: That’s right. You can either choose it from shapes that we have readily available, or you can simply get an image from the Internet, or you can even take a picture of a starfish on the beach and import it into the software.
SE: That sounds neat.
LK: It’s designed to be very easy.
SE: So it’s obviously printing food in layers; that’s what 3D printing is all about —but, there’s still a third step, and that’s cooking it either in a pot of boiling water, in the oven, depending on how you’ve done your pasta recipe. Isn’t that right?
LK: That’s correct. This particular model of Foodini that we’re putting out first does not cook. Now the individual food capsules, which are stainless steel, can be heated, so that comes in handy for things like keeping chocolate at a good melting point, or for printing warm mashed potatoes, for example, but it does not cook. You would need to take the food out and cook it afterwards.
What we found with our market research is that home kitchen users are really looking for that extra feature of a cooking capability so that they can have the choice of having food cooked or not.
We’re actually working on another Foodini model that does that, but we need some more development time to put that in the market.
3D PRINTING — SPEEDING UP THE FOOD PREPARATION PROCESS
SE: Well, that will certainly speed things up. If I were looking at this pasta example, from the time that I get home and have my ingredients on my counter, what would a typical time from start of prep to finish cooking be?
LK: Well, of course, it depends on your quantity, your shape, your sizes, all those variables. In that sense, the dough and the filling can take anywhere from, let’s say, 10 minutes, so it depends on your recipe of course and how good you are in the kitchen.
For each individual ravioli it takes about a minute-and-a-half to two minutes to 3D print, depending on your sizes. So, you can have a freshly made pasta dinner ready within a half hour.
NM Printing a burger (Credit: Natural Machines)
To start from scratch like that, that’s quite good. I’ve made ravioli by scratch with pasta makers that are on the market and — it’s fun for about the first, maybe five raviolis because you’re making the nice fresh dough and everything else, but then it gets rather boring and repetitive, and dinner’s two hours later. It’s just a bit too complex. Foodini speeds up that preparation and assembly process.
SE: Well, that sounds quite fast. Thirty minutes for fresh pasta made from raw ingredients? That sounds pretty incredible. Does that include the cooking time as well?
LK: It could. When you’re cooking fresh pasta, it’s always a much shorter cooking time than with a pre-made, dry type of pasta. That cooking time could be up to five minutes, no longer. In theory, you could take a half hour. If you’re taking more time or doing more complex shapes or do larger quantities, it could take you longer. But at the end of the day, we were very keen on making sure that the printing process is fast because with certain 3D plastic printers — well, actually with a lot of 3D printers — it could take several hours to make something.
Again, with food, nobody is going to be waiting hours for dinner to put on the table. That’s why we made our process a lot faster.
SE: That does sound incredibly fast. There was another recipe that I was looking at on your website that I found intriguing, and that was veggie burgers. How would you begin to make a veggie burger? What kind of ingredients would you need there? How many different capsules worth of things?
LK: Again, the veggie burger is all about the recipes you would make outside of the machine. That’s an interesting example because the veggie burgers we made were actually sliders, which are the small burgers that are very thin. We wouldn’t recommend using a 3D printer to print a normal veggie burger. For example, if you were going home tonight and you wanted one veggie burger for dinner, you wouldn’t need to print it. When we’re looking at printing things, we always ask, “Is it faster, easier, and better to 3D print it versus doing it by any other means?”
For one veggie burger, you don’t need a printer, but if you were making the small sliders, where people tend to eat four to six of them per serving — sometimes there are different flavours, and the hardest part of all is finding little bread rolls to actually fit your little burger. We actually print them to size, so everything’s a good burger-bun ratio.
LK: Yes. Again, you would make your veggie burger outside of the machine and your dough outside of the machine if you wanted to make your own fresh bread, and then you would go through the same process. You would choose your recipe or you would create your own shapes. Foodini would tell you what capsules to put the food in, and then you would simply print it.
SE: What would be the ideal types of foods that you’d use Foodini for? Clearly, pastas are one of them. Where else would you say that Foodini is the ideal solution?
LK: Well, I think if you look at things that, if you were to make them by hand, would require layering or shaping or repetitive food tasks, these are the types of things where 3D printing can help. Our proposition is not to say that everything you eat should be 3D food printed just like everything you eat now does not come out of an oven. A 3D food printer is a tool in your kitchen to help you do certain things with food shaping or forming or layering.
Even when you walk through a supermarket, if you look at things like bread sticks or pretzels or crackers or cookies or pastas or burgers, anything that you look at that would require food forming or layering, that’s where Foodini can save you time and headaches in the kitchen.
GETTING RID OF FOOD PRESERVATIVES
SE: I’m also thinking anything that has a lot of preservatives in it — that might be a candidate as well.
LK: That’s actually a very big reason why we decided to make Foodini. Because we’ve become over-reliant as a society on processed foods, and a lot of them having additives and preservatives, sometimes chemical-sounding ingredient names — we don’t know what we’re eating.
NM Salad tower inspired by Aalto vase (Credit: Natural Machines)
Even when we do understand all the ingredients in those packages, what we don’t know is how much salt, oil, and sugar, and each of those individual ingredients are in the packages. Usually, it’s way too much, and more then you would put if you were to make it by hand, because those items also act as preservatives for keeping a shelf life. That’s our proposition for a kitchen appliance: to get them back home and making those things with fresh, real, wholesome ingredients and staying away from all those preservatives and additives.
It puts control back to the user. You control every ingredient of what you’re putting into Foodini. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve decided to do empty food capsules and not force anybody to use pre-filled food capsules. Natural Machines doesn’t sell pre-filled food capsules. That’s not our business; we are not a food manufacturer. Although, we will have partners that provide food in the future
SE: Well, it sounds like a wonderful solution for people who might have food allergies or reactions to certain foods. Someone who might need a gluten-free diet — they can now have the kind of food that they want and make sure they’re not putting in ingredients that will make their tummy upset.
LK: That’s right. In a lot of these food packages from food manufacturers, there’s always the warning about cross-contamination, right? Your foods could be cross-contaminated from a factory.
The funny thing is, I know there’s some mental hurdles with getting over the hump about eating 3D-printed food, but what we tell people is: “If you’re eating anything that comes out of a package or it’s processed by a food manufacturer, you’re practically eating 3D-printed food today,” because the definition of 3D printing is really extruding food through machines or pushing food through machines, and that’s what a food manufacturer does. They push food through a machine, and they shape it, and they form it, and then they package it for you to buy.
What we’ve done, in essence, is we’ve shrunk down a food manufacturer facility to a box that sits in your kitchen, so you can form those foods yourself — but the big difference is that you’re controlling all the ingredients. It’s fresh, real ingredients. You control everything that goes in it, so there’s no cross-contamination issues.
NM Stainless Steel capsules (Credit: Natural Machines)
SE: Well, speaking of that, how do you actually clean Foodini? You’ve got these metallic capsules. In one dinner I might have pasta dough in a capsule. In another dinner I might have my veggie burger. How do you make sure they stay clean and that the food particles don’t get in the machine internals?
LK: We’ve made the capsules out of stainless steel. It’s food-grade safe. Stainless steel does not retain scent or flavour. We’ve made it so it’s very easy to clean. Imagine, if you will, a nozzle that can screw on to the capsule, and you can have the option to have different-sized nozzles as well. Those unscrew, and you can either wash the entire thing by hand or put it into your dishwasher.
It’s a very clean appliance. When we made it, we were always very aware that it needs to be easy to clean because nobody wants a kitchen appliance that may make your life easier to make foods, but then it takes three times as long to clean it. We’ve always wanted to make it very easy to clean.
The food inside Foodini actually goes into the capsule, and then it’s pushed out onto a glass plate below it. You can also put in a baking tray or whatever you like. That’s it. That’s where the food goes: into the capsule and onto the dish. It’s a very clean system. If food does happen to get on the walls of Foodini, it’s a very easy wipe-down task, such as something you’d do with a microwave.
SE: Is Foodini about the size of a typical microwave?
LK: It’s the size of a bigger microwave right now because we built it with the five food capsules, but we’re very aware that real estate in kitchens is a priority at all times. It’s a premium space.
We’ve designed Foodini so that if you wanted to stack appliances or put things on top of it, you have the ability to do that. It’s a very strong appliance so that you can put your coffeemaker on top or a food processor on top, and really maximize space in your kitchen. Counter space is always at a premium both in home kitchens and professional kitchens.
THE INTERNET OF THINGS: SMART KITCHENS
SE: Yes. You had mentioned that it’s an Internet of Things appliance. I would imagine that you have a wireless connection. Is that how you’ve got Foodini talking to the ‘net?
LK: That’s correct. It uses WiFi, and you can connect to different services in the cloud. In the future, what we envision is that your kitchen is going to get very smart. A lot of other appliances are starting to connect to the Internet of things.
Imagine a future where your Foodini can talk to your refrigerator, and your refrigerator tells Foodini, “Look, I have some produce in here that’s going to not be so fresh after another day.” Foodini can make recipe recommendations with that produce in mind, and your personal food tastes, so that we waste less food and we’re actually using the food that we have. With Foodini, you can actually print what you want to eat and no more. That also lessens the food waste.
SE: Is that something that Foodini does right now, or is that a future development?
LK: Well, it does connect to the Internet, and it is an Internet of Things appliance right now. It could talk to other kitchen appliances, but where we’re at with that is I think a lot of those appliances are just coming out as well. They’re not as prevalent in kitchens yet.
SE: I agree.
LK: The technologies we’re using are all the common Internet of Things appliance technologies. In the future, when smart ovens and smart refrigerators reach mass-market mode, and once people start adapting those types of appliances, we can have those “conversations” between the appliances.
SE: It will be interesting in a few years’ time when we start seeing the equivalent of RFID tags with IPv6 addresses on everything that we buy in the supermarket or with fresh produce. Then we’ll have a smart fridge that’s able to scan everything that we have, because it’s all tagged, and our fridge might talk to a Foodini.
LK: That’s right.
SE: Or maybe Foodini will look at the tag and I’ll have the ability to see the tags directly by some mechanism.
LK: Well, actually Foodini probably can do that today because our capsules are tagged.
There are a couple of reasons for that. The stainless steel capsules have the ability to be tagged. Let’s go back to that ravioli-for-dinner example. Let’s say you weren’t in the mood to even bother making dough or filling tonight, but you want freshly printed ravioli. You could take your stainless-steel food capsules to a retailer that makes fresh food on site. They would have food ready to 3D print. It would be similar to how you go to a deli counter or a cheese counter and you order your cheese. They wrap it. They put a scan code on it so you can scan it and check out. The same thing would happen with the capsules: put your fresh dough and your fresh filling in there, they would tag the capsules so that when you got home and put your capsule in Foodini, it would say, “Oh, this is a pasta dough that has these ingredients in it. It’s good for four days. Here are some recommended recipes you can make with it.” It’s going to start getting very intelligent.
SE: That will start to make cooking a lot more fun.
HAVING FUN WITH 3D FOOD PRINTING
LK: Exactly. It’s funny because one of the criticisms of 3D food printing is — “In two generations, no one is going to know how to cook because they just come home and press the magic button on Foodini, and, voila, you have dinner printed.” It’s really quite the opposite because we’re printing using fresh, real food.
I’ll use my kids as an example. They’re learning how to cook and what ingredients go in food because they want to prepare the food to put in Foodini to print. We’ve printed out spinach quiche in the shape of dinosaurs. My kids will get in the kitchen and learn how to do a spinach filling and learn how to make dough. Then they would pick the dinosaurs that they want to print and get it all ready. I find that it actually engages more people in knowing what’s in their food.
That works for adults as well because, when you’re buying packaged food, you really don’t know what’s in it. When you’re getting into the kitchen and you’re printing it, you’re aware of the ingredients that go into your food.
SE: I can also imagine that it would be a lot more fun to cook with your favourite ingredients if you have suggestions for all kinds of new recipes that you wouldn’t have thought of or different ways of preparing the food.
LK: That’s right. It’s time to start playing with your food again. We’re giving permission.
SE: Yes, in a good way.
LK: In a good way.
FOODINI’S COMMERCIALISATION PATH
SE: Lynette, when will Foodini be commercially available?
LK: We’re looking to do an early-access production run in the first half of this year in 2015.
That’s going to be a limited production number. One of the reasons for that is to test the assembly lines, and to make sure we’re getting a very high-quality device off the assembly line, but it’s also to get Foodini into the hands of our clients to see how they use it.
Our first set of clients is professional kitchen users. That’s restaurants and cafes and caterers and Michelin-starred chefs. What’s nice about Foodini, with the Internet of Things aspect to it, is that if a Michelin-starred chef has a certain technique for printing food on a dish, we can actually learn from that, write the software to replicate that technique, and send it over the air to them. That’s one of the reasons for doing the early production run: to get that interaction with our customers.
Depending on what happens with that timing, we’re looking at doing a mass-market production run by the end of 2015.
SE: That’s pretty fast. I would imagine that with your initial test run, you’re going to get some amazing recipes as well.
LK: That’s right because, surprisingly, we have no Michelin-starred staff on board at Natural Machines. It would be nice to actually work with the professionals that know what they’re doing, and their creativity with just what they’re thinking of doing is amazing. We never would have thought of a lot of those ideas. It will be good to see how they use Foodini.
SE: I’d imagine ideas would come in the form of what ingredients to put together and in what order, and also the beautiful shapes and creations, the artwork that they create with food.
Foodini in professional kitchen (Credit: Natural Machines)
LK: That’s right. It’s also an opportunity for the chefs to extend their brand beyond their restaurants and beyond their cookbooks.
Imagine you wanted to experience a Michelin-starred dish from a famous chef in London, for example, and you’re in Australia — well, with Foodini in the Internet of Things, as long as there’s a Foodini in both locations, you can actually show those recipes and have it prepared. It’s a way to experience food from around the world in a different way.
SE: I can imagine a whole new generation of cookbooks — the 3D cookbook.
LK: It would be quite fun.
SE: It would be fun to play with one of these. That reminds me — are you going to sell Foodini in Australia?
LK: We definitely are going to sell Foodini in Australia. We already have a good amount of interest there. We have interest from over 70 countries worldwide that are looking to see what 3D food printing is all about.
TOMORROW’S KITCHEN APPLIANCE?
What we envision is that, as with most technologies, the prices will drop in the future. Think about when flat-screen TVs were first introduced to the market. They were a couple of thousand dollars. Then the prices dropped as the technology evolved. We see the same thing happening with Foodini and 3D food printers. Plus we do have a line that we’re looking to produce in the future that will have different functionalities, different uses and different price points — so that people will be able choose a 3D food printer that best fits their needs and their price points.
SE: At some point in the future, it might be equivalent to deciding to purchase a microwave or maybe a good microwave.
LK: That’s exactly right. Right now, you have different functionalities with microwaves, whether they’re your basic microwave and they just do microwave heating, or some have grills built-in, so it does different types of cooking.
So, with Foodini, you’ll have different price points and functionality to choose from.
SE: That’s when it will start to hit mass market because — let’s face it — most people aren’t going to be paying 1,000 euro for a kitchen appliance.
LK: No, they won’t. Plus it’s quite new. We’re not looking at going to a standard electronic or kitchen appliance retailer and doing this tomorrow — stocking Foodinis on the shelves — at least not yet. When 3D food printers are accepted as common kitchen appliances, sure.
SE: Yes, there’s a lot of market education that will have to happen before people come to that conclusion.
LK: Exactly. I think we’re following a fairly standard route to market. A lot of new types of kitchen appliance tend to go to the professional markets first, to show people that you can trust this, and it does do good things, and to give the technology some time to evolve and drop in price and hit those mass market buttons, if you will. It’s been something that’s been proven before with other kitchen appliances.
SE: It makes sense because if name brand chefs are using a Foodini or a similar-type of 3D printer, then it starts to get the word out there.
LK: Right, and you have your confidence behind it as well, yes.
SE: What do you think is the timeframe for when something like Foodini might be a common kitchen appliance?
NM Valentines Day Chocolate Mousse and Caramel Sauce (Credit: Natural Machines)
LK: Well, we do see it becoming a common kitchen appliance in both professional and home kitchens. We see it happening faster than something than, let’s say, the microwave did. When the microwave first came out for consumer use in the ’70s, people questioned it, similar to how they’re questioning 3D food printers now. For the microwave, it was: “How does the food get hot but the walls of the microwave never do? Why do I need a microwave if I have perfectly good oven in my kitchen?” Then you fast-forward 30 years, and 90 percent of households have microwaves.
We see the same thing happening with 3D food printers, but on a much faster scale because we’re a much more tech-savvy audience and the technology evolves a lot faster these days. We expect that 3D food printers will become a common kitchen appliance within the next 10 to 15 years. It’s going to be half the time that it took for a microwave.
SE: When would, let’s say, a person who has a little bit more disposable income be likely to have a 3D food printer? Would that be in the five- to seven-year timeframe?
LK: I think that’s going to be sooner, actually. Some of those people are actually interested in buying the current non-cooking version of Foodini that will be out by the end of this year. I think we’re going to develop the cooking model faster than the five-year timeframe. I think it will happen in under five years.
SE: That’s really neat. It just brings me to the last question that I’m dying to ask you, and that is: in the future, and especially with 3D food printing, do you think we’ll ever get to something like a Star Trek replicator?
LK: I think we’re getting close. The Star Trek replicator is a bit complex because you ask for something and it magically replicates the ceramic of the plate and the parts that go on it.
LK: I think that’s everybody’s ideal, but it’s going to take quite a bit of time to get there, I think. We’re aiming for it. If we can do it, we’re going to try and go for it.
SE: Well, one of the cool parts about the replicator is how the Star Trek crew always talks to it — the audio interface, and I can see that happening sooner than later.
LK: That, I do see happening sooner than later as well, yes, but I think it’s still going to require some work in terms of loading ingredients and putting a proper plate in there.
SE: Yes. There’s still some human intervention.
LK: There’s still a little bit of intervention that will need to happen within the near to medium timeframes.
SE: Well, this has just been such a fun interview. Do you have any other last comments for our audience?
LK: I think it’s just for people keep an open mind about 3D food printing and don’t get stuck on the techie sound of it. Once you try it, it’s made with all fresh, real ingredients, at least from Foodini. The reason why we even invented Foodini and 3D food printing is to really help people get back to eating healthier things, and to get back to cooking with fresh real ingredients. If that’s what people do, we’re happy with that.
SE: Well, the proof will be in how the food tastes.
LK: That, we’re very confident with that. We’ve done a lot of taste testing. Film crews have done taste testing. Once people try it, we’ve gotten zero negative reactions on the taste of the food.
I will say, however, that Foodini is not a magic machine. You cannot put bad ingredients into the machine and expect a world-class dinner coming out of it.
LK: You still have to use those nice ingredients to have nice-tasting food. Any chef will tell you that. Any home cook will tell you that.
SE: Yes, and I think anyone who goes to a restaurant will probably recognise that as well.
LK: Exactly. That’s why we’re very confident with the taste of the food because, again, you’re not forced to buy pre-filled food capsules. It’s all fresh, real ingredients.
SE: Well, I’m looking forward to some Foodinis coming Down Under so that I can try this in person.
LK: We would definitely love to get them there for you. They’re coming very soon.
SE: Well, you’ve got a beta customer here.
LK: Wonderful. We’ll take you up on that.
SE: Thank you so much for your time, Lynette. It’s been a delight.
LK: Thank you very much.
About the author: Shara Evans is internationally acknowledged as a cutting edge technology futurist, commentator, strategy advisor, keynote speaker and thought leader, as well as the Founder and CEO of Market Clarity.