Everyone loves sweets, and 3D-printed confectionery is all rage in the closing months of 2016. Now, German company Wacker has just announced its latest addition to a growing genre: 3D-printed chewing gum.
Set to be unveiled at the ProSweets Cologne fair in early 2017, the company claims to have reinvented chewing gum with a technology that allows it be printed on a variety of different shapes and flavors.
“Generally speaking, chewing gum is a very complex food matrix with unique physical properties, such as its intrinsic elasticity and high viscosity even at elevated temperatures,” Martin Seizl, business development manager at Wacker, told Digital Trends. “This makes fused deposition modeling very challenging. Furthermore, the printed product should be tasty and keep its shape over time. Our experts have succeeded in overcoming these challenges by rethinking chewing gum formulations from scratch and optimizing commercially available 3D-printing hardware and software.”
As a longtime supplier of raw materials for the chewing gum industry, Seizl said that Wacker’s goal spans all manner of customizations for gum.
“[We are] currently still evaluating the possibilities of this new technology, in particular variation of colors, shapes and flavors,” he continued. “These could be individually personalized. Generally, we see a trend toward individualized food products, may it be for commercial purposes such as marketing and advertising or just for personal use.”
There’s no definitive word on when 3D-printed gum will be making its ways to our, well, mouths, but if it follows in the footsteps of other 3D-printed candy companies, it’s easy to imagine there being demand for customizable chewing gum in some form.
Wacker will also use the ProSweets Cologne 2017 fair to unveil another innovation: its so-called CANDY2GUM technology, which allows it to create a sweet which first tastes and feels like gummy candy and then transforms into chewing gum as it is chewed.
Of course, the “industry first” that we’re really waiting for is the first person to stick a piece of 3D-printed chewing gum to the underside of a piece of 3D-printed furniture. Now that will be a manufacturing landmark to hit!