3D printed food and customized siliconemolds : Investigating aesthetic appearance and food preparingmethods for a dysphagia diet

University essay from Högskolan i Halmstad/Akademin för ekonomi, teknik och naturvetenskap

Abstract: Dysphagia is a serious eating disorder currently affecting around 100 thousand people in Sweden and it’s estimated that 1 in 10 people will develop some form of dysphagia during their lifetime around the world. The condition occurs mainly in elders and people who’ve suffered a stroke. The disorder prohibits proper swallowing of food, impairing the ability to close airways and let food enter the proper pathways. Patients with dysphagia have to eat grounded food in order to not suffer from malnutrition. The food is usually served in timbales which are sometimes decorated but might not look as appealing or realistic as one might think. The repetitive and unrealistic food creates further appetite loss which may lead to malnutrition. This is the case amongst many elderly in home care and the complications maybe very serious indeed, leading to organ dysfunction, hospitalization and eventually death. The current timbales made at the kitchens for elderly care in Helsingborg are punched with a tool in rectangular, circular shapes and often decorated. A solution would be to increase the aesthetics of the served timbales and make them realistically looking. 3D printing offers numerous new opportunities for food production and may very well set a standard in the future for producing aesthetically pleasing food. Silicone molds may also provide the same, if not better results at the time being at a fraction of the price, sufficing to revert any negative impacts of the current timbale appearance. In the hopes of proving both concepts the work will initially be focused on preparing a broccoli but also applying one of the concepts on a cinnamon bun providing additional application. This report presents the progress of designing a realistic 3D broccoli model, product development of a realistic broccoli food mold, 3D scanning, 3D food printing and a literature study. The designed model could not be printed due to the printing gel’s incapability of supporting complex structures. Instead master shapes created for shaping the food mold were scanned, sliced and printed. The same masters were used as means for a second food mold. Both food molds did manage to cast realistic shapes with a broccoli puré and of a soft gelatine suspension. Material alternatives were evaluated as well as manufacturing possibilities. The designed broccoli and a refined scanned broccoli were both offered for free as means for further research and development.

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