Food from 3D printer for people with swallowing problems: ‘Now get brown gunk’

Peter Nieuwkerk of the company thinks so. His idea is this: by making a puree of a fresh vegetable, such as broccoli, you can use it for printing. The 3D printer then uses the puree to imitate the shape of a broccoli floret. The mashed rose is frozen and only needs to be warmed up. A solution for people with dysphagia (chewing and swallowing problems).

“If you look at the normal kitchen, much has been developed with regard to food, quality and presentation. But the development of food for people with dysphagia has come to a standstill for forty years,” Nieuwkerk tells EditieNL.

Chewing and swallowing problems

Dysphagia is a disorder of chewing and swallowing difficulties. The condition is most common in neurological disorders, such as MS, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. For example, about 82 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease suffer from dysphagia. About 45 percent suffer from swallowing and chewing problems from a treatment for head or neck cancer.

According to him, people with chewing and swallowing problems in nursing homes are still served a brown gunk from the blender. That is why, together with chef Eugène Swalen, he went looking for a way to let people with dysphagia enjoy food.

“They also deserve a good dining experience. That starts with recognizing the food on your plate,” says Nieuwkerk. “But it also has to be tasty and safe. We can now offer that.”

‘Hot brown stuff’

Now it is time for Nieuwkerk and Swalen to put the plan into effect on a large scale. “We are setting up an industrial production line so that we can print a lot of food. We are going to make a total of 25,000 kilos of vegetables per day,” says Nieuwkerk.

Professor of Dietetics Marian de van der Schueren is positive about the plan. “Quality of life is very important for residents in care homes. If you can eat poorly and then also get a dollop of brown stuff on your plate, it doesn’t get any better.”

Amazingly good

But there is also a side note: “Every disease requires customization when it comes to food. For example, some people can only swallow thick liquid things and others only thin ones. 3D printed food is usually ground, so there is something in between,” explains De van der Schueren to EditieNL.

Nevertheless, in general there will be many people who will benefit from Nieuwkerk’s plan. “I’ve tasted it and it’s really amazing how good it tastes. That’s how people get the right nutrition and it’s pleasing to the eye.”

Source: RTL Nieuws by

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