Personalised nutrition to order with 3D printing tech launch

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/Hywards
©iStock/Hywards
Personalised nutrition using a natural, calorie-free fibre to create nutritionally enhanced foods on demand is “revolutionary”, according to the makers of a 3D-printing platform.

Israeli-based firm Yissum and its technology is designed to print 3D food according to pre-defined criteria potentially serving a variety of markets and populations, including sports athletes and the elderly.

Its makers use nano-cellulose fibres as a base material to bind proteins, carbohydrates and fat as well as control of the food’s texture.

“The ability to automatically prepare, mix, form and cook personalized food in one device, is a truly revolutionary concept,”​ said Dr Yaron Daniely, president and CEO of Yissum.

“The idea is to enable full control of the substances used, for the purpose of creating healthy and tasty meals that can be eaten immediately.

Industry diet tinkering

Personalised nutrition is no longer an emerging issue for the food and nutrition industry as rising public interest in achieving optimum energy levels, sleep quality, mental health and physical fitness demand a custom-made dietary regimen.

With demand comes opportunity. Founded in 2011, Nestlé Health Science looks at nutritional therapy as a way to manage health for consumers, patients and its partners in healthcare.

Its Iron Man programme is a coffee-machine style piece of equipment that analyses what is missing in a consumer’s diet and then tailors a product to help make up the difference.

Another Israeli-based firm DayTwo offers personalised nutrition recommendations via an app, with data based on machine-learning algorithms that integrate personalised gut microbiome data.

Companies such as the UK’s DNAfit offer genetic testing services that enable deeper insights to be made as to how people use food for fuel, or how fast a nutrient is metabolised.

Laser-like focus

The 3D printing of food to order is another variation on the theme. The team believe the self-assembly properties of nano-cellulose fibres are superior to other commonly used binding materials such as starch, which can be difficult for the body’s enzymes to degrade.

The technology is composed of a cartridge or capsule that holds the food’s raw materials in powder or solution form as well as the crystalline nano-cellulose.

These ingredients are then subjected to the heat and shape forming capabilities of infrared lasers that the hardware uses to follow a tailored specification.

The heat from the laser coupled with localised heating removes the water, mimicking the effect of baking, frying and grilling.

This has the potential to address a variety of challenges facing the field of nutrition,” ​added Dr Daniely.

“From the demand for personalized food for people with disease such as celiac or diabetes, personal nutritional habits such as vegetarians, to addressing the problem of lack of food in developing countries.”     

Israel make it personal

Founded in 1964, Dr Daniely’s firm describes itself as a technology transfer company borne out of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Taking the university’s most promising scientific research, Yissum works to commercialise the research serves as a bridge to bring together entrepreneurs, investors, and industry.  Spin-off companies include Mobileye, Collplant, Qlight,and  Briefcam..

Yissum are one of a number of Israeli-based firms and initiatives active in the personalised nutrition arena.

DayTwo, an Israeli start-up spun off from the Weizmann Institute, count Professor Eran Segal and Dr. Eran Elinav, as contributing researchers to the firm’s products.

The two academics also head up The Personalised Nutrition Project, an initiative that uses data and predictive algorithms to help people make food choices that are better for their health and well-being.

Other companies active in the region include Nutrino, which uses IBMWatson intelligence to predict and personalise foods and recipes that best align to the user based on preferences.

Its app also tracks hydration status and even moods, incorporating learning AI technology to deliver more tailored nutritional advice.

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