Two new food-creating printers have been launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 in Las Vegas this week.
The Chefjet and Chefjet Pro from 3D Systems based in South Carolina, America can make chocolate and sugar-based confectionery formed in shapes and patterns that would be difficult to produce using traditional methods.
The food-safe printers can be used to print in chocolate, or sugar infused with vanilla, mint, sour apple, cherry and watermelon flavours.
Designs are built using a layer-by-layer printing process and the sweets are created by spreading a fine layer of flavoured sugar, and then painting water on top using a jet print head to turn the substance into hardened crystals. The process is then repeated to make the edible products, which can also have moving parts.
Natural Machines, a Spanish start-up, also unveiled a prototype called the Foodini that can create chocolates and ravioli pasta. In the UK start-up company Choc Edge in Devon, Exeter is already selling printers that can create printed patterns.
However, according to a story from the BBC, experts at the show have said that prices for the food-creating printers would likely limit sales, with basic versions of the Chefjet costing about £3,000 and the Chefjet Pro more than double that.