Technology

Published on February 19th, 2020 | by Danielle

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Chocolatier Makes World’s First 3D-Printed Chocolate

Art and technology are combining to create an incredible experience — through chocolate.

Barry Callebaut, one of the world’s largest cocoa processors, recently announced the launch of the first studio dedicated to personalizing 3D-printed chocolate at scale. The service was launched under Barry Callebaut’s worldwide decoration brand, Mona Lisa.

The Swiss-based chocolate company says the launch of the Mona Lisa 3D Studio is a revolutionary moment in the world of chocolate craft. The studio combines cutting-edge production technology, design, and Barry Callebaut’s chocolate expertise so chefs can produce their personalized chocolate creations at scale. These creations can be used for desserts, pastries, hot drinks, and more.

The Mona Lisa 3D Studio is said to have innovative technology that allows thousands of chocolate pieces to be printed at once. However, these pieces will not have a mass-manufactured look to them. Barry Callebaut says each printed piece will have a hand-made appearance to ensure its special touch is not lost.

Some professionals in the food industry believe this will be a game-changer for chefs all over the world. This service allows chefs of any kind, from those in Italian restaurants to those that operate pastry shops, to uniquely design a chocolate decoration. Then, a team of designers will make it into a prototype. If the prototype gets the green light, then the chocolate decoration will get produced at scale.

The world won’t have to wait long to see this service in action. The Mona Lisa 3D Studio already has its first customer. Van der Valk, a hotel chain in the Netherlands, is already using the 3D printing service. Chefs in other hotels, coffee chains, and restaurants in specific European countries will be among the first people the service is publicly offered to.

Van der Valk isn’t the only brand who has experienced Mona Lisa’s revolutionary service, though. Mona Lisa partnered with Jordi Roca, regarded as one of the world’s most creative pastry chefs, for its launch event. Roca used the 3D printing service to create “Flor de Cacao,” a signature piece that represents a cocoa bean opening up like a cacao flower through contact with hot chocolate sauce.

In a statement, Roca says that Mona Lisa’s technology will help make concepts that were once unthinkable completely possible.

“This new way of working with chocolate is going to take consumers by surprise, with previously unthinkable shapes produced at scale and with impressive precision. I’m usually inspired by the things I can’t do as they represent a creative challenge – but now, thanks to Mona Lisa 3D Studio, I can take my chocolate craftsmanship to the next level,” Roca stated.

Chefs aren’t the only ones who want to see their craft level up. Consumers are looking for better experiences and food aesthetics when interacting with brands. Research from Barry Callebaut shows that 70% of consumers want to try new and exciting chocolate experiences and six out of 10 want to share it on social media. Mona Lisa’s new technology will allow chefs to create a unique and authentic chocolate experience for consumers at mass-scale.

Mona Lisa’s services come at a time when 3D printing is growing in popularity. It’s estimated that the global market for 3D printing and services will grow to nearly $50 billion by 2025. 3D printing is used in a number of different industries, including the dental and construction sectors. One of the more impressive uses for LulzBot 3D Printers involved the creation of 3D printed bridges, fit together in segments with no adhesive material. The bridge that held the most weight, roughly 250 pounds, currently holds the record.

Mona Lisa’s latest service will bring 3D printing into the food industry in a way that’s never been done before. Chefs will be able to create unique chocolate designs at scale for their customers without sacrificing quality. In an age when consumers heavily celebrate new experiences, brands must find unique ways to win a customer’s attention. What better way than to create a personalized chocolate decoration that’s authentic and picture-worthy?


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