3D printing or additive manufacturing is a fabrication technique gaining considerable interest across many disciplines owing to its dimensional precision and ability to produce novel geometrical shapes. Jetting-based 3D deposition is an important subset of 3D printing as it allows rather small units of deposition (i.e. droplets). Use of this technique for edible materials is relatively limited due to inability of piezoelectric inkjet printing to print inks with viscosity >0.03 Pa s. As a result, the technique is sometimes referred to as 2D food printing. The present review summarises reported studies on jetting-based printing of edible formulations. It also discusses various approaches which could result in further progress of this field of study. They include: (i) advancements in printing techniques such as thermally, pneumatically and electrostatically aided deposition and (ii) innovative ink formulations in which supramolecular interactions, e.g. hydrophobic and electrostatic associations dominate the microstructure of the printed object. With an optimal combination of these two, novel microstructures can be produced which may find their applications beyond food, into pharmaceuticals/nutraceuticals. Where relevant, non-edible formulations have been discussed which have the underlying microstructural principles that can be translated to edible formulations.
- 3D printing
- additive manufacturing