Hear the backstory of how 3D printing food came into the pizza making relam with Jordan French of BeeHex. Hint: it’s out of this world! Developing a 3D printer specifically for what you want looks like it is the way to go instead of making a 3D printer that can make anything. 3D food printing requires different delivery systems than your average FFF printer, and we are impressed by this 3D pizza printer from BeeHex.
This episode is making me really hungry already. 3D printing food, specifically 3D printing pizza. What’s better than that? Come on. We’ve done a lot of discussions in the past and some episodes on 3D printing food printers. This is a new one. It’s pizza, who doesn’t love that? That’s perfect.
I got to tell you a little backstory about our guest, Jordan French. We’ve mentioned before on the podcast that I interviewed Walter O’Brien from the Scorpion team. Jordan works with their PR group. He actually sent me this email following up to see when the article was going to air and that kind of thing. When he did, he said, “Hey, I’m working on a 3D print project and I saw that you are 3D print cohosts. Do you want to review or talk about it on your podcast?”
I said, “Heck, yeah. Are you kidding? You want to talk about printed food, I could talk about that anytime. Let’s talk about 3D print pizza! Absolutely!” Anyway, their story is really interesting. I think we should just throw right into the episode because he explains that backstory. It’s really cool because it comes out of NASA and just a really cool backstory as to how it got started.
Listen to the podcast here:
3D Printing Food is Coming!
Jordan, thanks so much for coming on the show. Who doesn’t want to talk about 3D printing food? I’m hungry. Just the idea of 3D printing food is exciting me. Who doesn’t love pizza?
Everybody loves pizza. We have a saying here at BeeHex, we got a hold of a study that surveyed people’s tastes for food. 93% of people reported that they’ll eat pizza. We just figured the other 7% never took the survey.
I think that’s definitely pretty accurate from my experience as well. Why don’t we step back a little bit? The information will be posted on our website about BeeHex, which is the name of the company and the name of the printer, correct?
That’s right. That’s the name of our company. As for the printer, it’s actually unnamed. We are, among other things, are branding the actual hardware and software systems themselves. That’s a work in progress. We’ve floated a few names. So far we went and just called it by our company, BeeHex.
There’ll be information about it and links to it and you have a great video. We’ll have that on our blog post. Why don’t you give some background as to why you guys got together to start this?
That’s a great question. A great place to start. We’re originally a NASA funded project. This goes back to a few years, from 2012 to 2013. Anjan Contractor, who is our CEO, made a name for himself in the 3D printing space, proposed to NASA under a SBIR, a small business research grant. They had sent out a request for proposals to solve a problem that they had. They were looking to get humans to Mars. Those Mars missions can last several years, up to five years. What they have experimented with so far or up to that point, which were food pills and food bars, didn’t sit so well with the astronauts.
Are you surprised?
Not at all. We can step in the shoes of an astronaut and unless they lack taste buds, those food pills and food bars on day one, they taste just fine. It’s like eating a protein bar or something on those lines. On day 800, when you’re eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner, that’s just texturally boring. The same flavors and flavor combinations – there’s only so much you can do to make that work.
Anjan came up with an ingenious idea. “Let’s introduce … that’s a real problem that you’ve identified, NASA.” He proposed, “Why don’t we 3D print food in space on the way there? Heck, you can even use the 3D printer and let anyone else exploring Mars as well [use it].” His proposal to NASA was accepted, won the grant and some of the funds that came with it. He went ahead and built the printer.
That phase one of the SBIR grant went very successfully. In fact, that rolled into a phase two for a sum that was about a magnitude larger. The first grant was at $125,000. This is typical of any SBIR grant. It goes up a magnitude larger. Right around that time, congress was going through the later rounds of Austerity and pulled funding eventually for this project, and more broadly from NASA.
Anjan, feeling that this is a great idea and had applications here on Earth was his hunch, and also doing the groundwork from a marketing tool to see what tastes might be like for 3D printed pizza on Earth and where that might happen. He said, “Let’s just commercialize it.” He went out to find some of the more experimental people who could make something like this happen.
I’m among those, background in Engineering, worked on a NASA project myself on gravity. Chintan, he’s a 16 year veteran from Intel and celebrated in the inside of that company for the electronics work that he’s done. He’s on the team. Ben Feltner is the fourth cofounder who is the odd ball. No pun intended, he is former MLB draftee.
You guys got it all covered there. It’s really interesting because I have background having worked with a researcher who had a fabulous NASA grant that was studying long term space travel. This was back in the 70s, late 70s. It was studying the effects of, I would call the decoration, but color pattern and texture. Rugs, paintings, things that we think of, embellishments. The lack of that in an austere environment and what that does to a person’s psyche over time, their productivity. There was this long study. Doctor James Wise, we’ve covered it in a couple articles together. Very interesting man. It was at that time.
They did this study in which they had one group of test subjects who had the completely austere environment and they had to conduct productivity tests every day. They had this other environment, another group that was not the control group obviously. What they did was as they performed tasks, they gave them bonus points. They could buy things with the bonus points, like games or cigarettes, alcohol it turned out, which is why they ended up getting their funding pulled at the end of the day in the late 70s when they found out about it.
The interesting part was the group that was given the option of buying embellishments, things that felt like home, they did better on all the productivity tests. They were more relaxed. The idea of bringing food that you’re comfortable with would do a tremendous amount to the health and wellbeing of those astronauts as well.
I think that’s right. I’m going to have to get a hold of that study. We’ll marshal it to meet our own goals as well.
I’ll send you a link to Doctor Wise.
That would be great. That was chief among the samplings of astronauts. We find that on our own studies, people do want to eat 3D printed pizza here on Earth. I can speak to it greatly from a marketing direction from the studies that we have ran. In general, it’s skews towards youths. Some of the studies we’ve ran so far, they’re actually more interested in trying and tasting and eating a 3D printed pizza than they are the handmade custom pizza.
It doesn’t mean that it’s a substitute for that market, but it definitely shows that it’s there. We studied 12 to 24 and then one separately that was a 16 to 24. The favor, the novelty, the interestingness and piqued their curiosity. That led them towards, “Oh, I’d rather try 3D printed pizza at the same price than get a regular slice from someone making it by hand on the street.”
Interesting. That must have taken quite some development to make a 3D printer for food that could do the dough aspect. I would imagine that was one of the more complicated things because pizza dough, I think, as most people have experienced, it’s not something you could extrude very easily. Can you tell us a little bit about how that came about?
Definitely. That’s testament to Anjan Contractor’s and the engineering capabilities and just generally our engineering team. What’s different here from most 3D printers is that we use a pneumatic system. What that means is, air brusher. Unlike the syringe or similar syringe style where you just simply depress something, I have to use a motor to drive or extrude something through the extruder. We use air brusher. For a pneumatic system, we can greatly change that pressure.
What that means is we’re able to print a very wide range of viscosities. That includes something like pizza dough. More broadly, it’s the reality that we look at. That doesn’t just include viscosity, it also includes surface tension and a few other properties. Under very high pressure, we’re able to extrude dough and really just make any shape that you want.
For example, Food Loves Tech in New York City, we made heart shaped pizzas. We’ve even been able to make logos and any number of things. Within that range also and with a separate extruder, we’ll print sauce, which flows more easily. It’s a lower viscosity. When you’re using a pneumatic system, it’s very easy for us to change that pressure. The contrast, the motor, we’ll have to completely switch out a different motor because of the rather huge change in torque. That’s the overriding difference here that allows us to print something that’s so complex and layer it as pizza and make it look so easy like we do.
I could just see this. You’ve mentioned the shapes and things like the heart. I could just so see it at theme parks. Who doesn’t want to eat a Mickey Mouse pizza? I think I could get my two year old to do that in a minute. I could definitely see that in play there, or at a big event. It’s being this fabulous print as you go, pick your design and just have it be an event of it.
That’s definitely right. You can imagine who’s approached us on pilot tests and first orders. It tends to be the usual suspects, which is theme parks and event driven caterers and zoos, music venues. Folks who’ll want to use food as a way to help market and it’s entertain and dining. It’s a bit more than just, “Okay, here’s some pizza.” No. instead, “Here’s some pizza that helps identify us as a brand with our target market and our customers that come through the door.”
I’m curious though, market research, product research is a big background, area of interest for Tom and I, why you chose to survey the kids and not the moms and dads?
We are. That’s exactly what we’re doing. More broadly, parents make purchasing decisions based off of their children. When I say we are, what I mean is children are not our only market. In fact, children are relatively rare at music venues, and to some degree even at certain movie theaters where we also seem very likely to have a lot of traction with our systems. This in general is anyone who wants to go down this road of helping people identify their brand through food with their customer target market.
One event that really drew that distinction for us, we did end up at the VIP portion of Food Loves Tech in New York. There wasn’t anyone under the age of 30. Again, people loved it because of that identification of the heart with Food Loves Tech. People want to try it, they sample it. It’s something new. While this is definitely going to be a huge hit for children, adults are wowed by that too. Children like to see the action of something getting 3D printed. Adults turn into children in some cases.
That I agree with.
They like to see the action of it, the taste. Across any age group, pizza is very accessible. It’s a good place for us to start. It has been so far. It’s easy for people to understand exactly what we’re making. We’re not stuck in a niche. We’re really making something where either tastes are very polarized, which does tend to be the case with most of the foods, including very popular foods like chocolate. People usually, they just love it or hate it. What pizza tends to be, at least data shows, , either they love it or they’re relatively agnostic and they will try it. We have a lot of people that our clients and customers, these guys can then sell the end product too.
I love the idea of 3D printing food. I just think that’s really such a cool idea. As a mom, I think my number one request is if you could figure out how to jam vegetables in there, I’m all for it.
Yes, definitely. We are too. Going back to the astronauts a bit, one big push behind this 3D printer idea was, or one big lot behind it was the medical community as it related to the astronauts. They like to control and see and know what’s going on with them and also be able to have control over what goes into them. What better way than with a 3D printer where it’s really easy to customize and change up ingredients? Also, on the backend, measure and know, because they’re extruding it, calorie count and certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
Those are the things that we could definitely meet and relatively easily put into ingredients and ingredient list back along to the printer, from pizza and beyond. Whether that’s something that’s got some spinach infused into it or other popular nutraceuticals as people call them. Really anything we can add into a mix. We’re relatively agnostic right now because of what I explained earlier around VC reality and other things. The properties of what we 3D print, we’re also really agnostic to the ingredients that go into them. We’re able to print for example, an entire range of pizza at Domino’s and Papa John’s let’s say or Papa Murphy’s, dough, sauce and cheese. We’ve teamed up with Ribalta and Pasquale Cozzolino, the number one pizza chef in New York to 3D print his dough, sauce and cheese, which is arguably among the best tasting in New York City.
That’s very cool.
That gives you an idea. We do have many orders out there, which is a cool topic. The chef community is pretty excited about the applications for it in the long run.
I can imagine this would make it a lot more fun for adults. I think once even kids see this thing print, they’re all going to scoff at the easy bake oven. The thing kids used to experiment with all these in the past. This is quite an advancement.
It’s like the super version of an easy bake oven. Among comparisons that we’ve gotten so far, the doppelgangers are Star Trek Replicators. That one probably comes up most often. One more lately that I like because I’m a Michael J. Foxx fan is Back to the Future Part Two, The Hydrator.
The Hydrator, if you recall that one from Back to the Future Part Two.
We’re fans too. I actually did, somewhere as a teenager or somewhere in college at one point, I did work at Domino’s for a summer. I can actually see their whole oven conveyor which is really done … It’s not the traditional pizza oven in your traditional Italian restaurant where you open a door and you put it in and then you open the door later and take it out. It’s a conveyor. It goes in.
I can see that being turned into a 3D printer for food. When you think about it, you might be able to avoid a lot of labor of people that these pizza shops have. Tossing dough, making sure it gets done right, spreading out the sauce, spreading out the pizza, plus you have the aspect of cleanliness of people’s hands who are doing it and all these. You can eliminate a lot of labor and issues with 3D printers that print food. That would be quite something.
I think you’re exactly right. Some of those elements to this are in the stack of what some of the bigger brands are looking at when they explore systems like ours. I don’t think necessarily labor cost is all the way up there. I think it is cleanliness being highlighted. That’s a big one and the liability around cleanliness. That carries a stark contrast between a staff and their hands and assembly line and lots of them and they are robots, which once you start out clean, it tends to stay that way. It’s relatively easy to monitor and build around equipment that’s self-cleaning and relatively automatically self-cleaning. There’s a big gap between those two. I think it looks like some of the larger brands will want to take advantage of that at some point.
I think that’s fantastic. When you think about how you’re using the pneumatic system, how much easier would it be to just load gallons and gallons of sauce and the cheese and the dough in a big way? When you think about conventional 3D printers needing filament or sometimes they call it 3D ink, in reality here, you’re talking about 3D printing food. Food to feed the printer that’s then going to be food people eat. I’m having a lot of fun thinking about this.
Let’s touch base, Jordan, a little bit on the idea that … You guys are in the test phase. There’s going to be a lot of people listening to this going, “I’m really hungry for a 3D print pizza right now. Where can I get one?” It’s not really going to be out until 2017 some time, because you’re really still in the seed stage, in the early rounds of getting this going.
How is that going for you? Do you find it difficult? We have a lot of people in the same boat as you out there. Can you give them some guidelines on the struggles that they may face if they’re not facing it already and some tips on how they might improve?
Start out with huge buckets of money and get ready to burn them. I’m kidding. You’re right, Tracy. It definitely helps to start out with a lot. Differentiation, differentiation, differentiation. Like most things, that’s what people are attracted to. We’ve gone down a road more granularly of identifying and segmenting out our target markets, who exactly we would sell to. Then pursuing a letter of interest, a letter of intent, either definition fits. From those two, start that process of contract formation around whether they want to pilot it to use it within whatever environment they’re used to operating or they want to buy a number of the system.
Those are things that you can get in front of the potential investors and do get in front of potential investors. That tends to make things a lot easier. They’re pretty exciting technology from a marketing standpoint. It’s been great and relatively easy to get the word out that way. It’s probably on the line with you guys, that’s one example. Garnered a lot of press, a lot of invitations to exhibitions to showcase it.
Showcase it as much as possible. Getting out there has been a key part of our success as well on all fronts. Awareness tends to breed success, at least in our case. The more people that know about what we’re doing, the more excited they can get. The more people want to help out. We really welcome that because it does take a village to raise something like this. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of pieces and parts to not just getting sales under way, but also the engineering aspect and the industrial design as you guys know well. Every other aspect of what goes into something from concept to a system where people eventually eat the food and voluntarily pays for the food that comes out on the other end of it.
Jordan, that’s great. We tell people, differentiation. That’s probably the catch phrase we say all the time. Single most important thing you can do in business. We call it “me only territory”. That’s where you want to be. Minimum, you need to be in “me special territory”. That’s how we talk about it from a differentiation standpoint. Definitely, you guys are doing really well there.
I think it’s really an interesting idea. I think it’s a big misconception is I guess a better way to say it. A lot of people think, “I have a great invention, I have a great idea,” whatever this is. It really does take what you said, which is getting it done and getting it out there and demoing it to really be successful at getting seed funding and getting to the stage at which you need and getting the right partners.
That’s definitely right. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s another mantra that comes to mind in the opposite direction. You definitely have to connect with people. Raising money, which is something that we … This is very common among systems or hardware firms. There’s a lot to it so you always got to just generally be out raising. What that is, is a form of sales.
One aspect that I like about that a lot is you’re selling. You get to hone that pitch and explain exactly what it is that you’re doing, exactly what you have, exactly where things are going. You get those objections from investors just like in a typical sale, as if you were selling the system itself. What that does though is it’s like a hazing process. It’s really, really helpful to get you thinking about exactly what the market wants and making sure you’re hitting that point as granularly, as accurately and precisely as possible.
Ultimately, that whole process of fund raising, whether it’s successful for any given company or not, it’s been very successful for us so far. It is a great process to go through because of that feedback that you get. Another way to look at it is consulting. We don’t have to pay so many consultants or any really to help us hone in on what investors want or what our market wants. It’s simply, we go out there and ask them for something. Dollars speak even louder than words. When they part with money to invest and behest or there is a preorder that happens, we know that we are maxed up with something that they’re really looking for.
Interesting. That’s wonderful. I think you guys are really going about it in a really methodical and smart way. One of the things that I like to tell people who are always coming to me, because you know that I write for Inc. Magazine which is how we met. You have to also make things very editorial. When you have images of you displaying and being at an event or you have the videos from the printer printing, which is just so critically so important to make sure you have a functioning one.
I think another step is to really do amazing creations, as you’ve got it labeled here on your website. I think you guys need to take it further. Maybe there’s some great culinary schools, Johnson & Wales comes to mind. We have a friend who’s on the baking and pastry from college. Inviting them in and getting them to come up with designs, because the culinary schools are also teaching food art. It maybe needs to go on art level as well, which is happening on the other 3D printer side. You’re getting a lot of artists who are pushing the envelope. They can experiment with the printers because the printers exist. Yours doesn’t so they’ve got to partner with you to do that somehow.
You’re exactly right about that. We have got, like any team does, we’re practically all engineers. I mentioned earlier on the call that I am too. I’d love an intro to a Johnson & Wales, as you mentioned earlier, or anyone else.
We’ll be happy to do that. Doing things that are editorial, things that obviously do well in social media but look really good when I put them in my article. Those are the things that really attract more attention for you from a publicity standpoint. More of that only helps you get your funding.
Definitely. We are on the same brainwave, Tracy.
Good. There seems to be so much interest among, I know, listeners of this podcast, because there’s been a lot of questions that have come up. We have a lot of social media conversations about it with our audience. There just seems to be such a great interest in 3D printing food of some kind. I really want to applaud you for focusing on a particular kind of food and not trying to make a food 3D printer that is trying to be all things to everyone in the kitchen, that can do every kind of different kind of experiments with 3D printing food.
You focused on making it do very, very well for pizza. That’s a specialized area. It’s enough to tackle really, I would think, for a startup. It’s easier to go and then after you’re successful there, learn from those successes and jump the learning curve on where you want to take it from there and pivot a little bit for the next printer and the next. It is really smart. They try to be all things to all people and then it just get so muddied that none of it works well.
You’re definitely both right, Tom and Tracy, about that aspect. If you think about the food market just in general, prepared foods or cooked foods and slice it almost any way, each of these markets is absolutely enormous. Just the pizza market, the readymade pizza market itself, it still is absolutely enormous. One driver there is it’s unnecessary to try to do all at once, bite off more than we can really strictly chew.
No pizza pun intended. It’s got to be hard enough to make food 3D print well if it’s pizza or one specific thing. Let alone if it’s all kinds. Everybody wants to put all kinds of different ingredients. How are you going to do that well? It makes sense, well done.
Thanks. On that note, we will and do have plans to expand to a number of foods. We’ve definitely experimented a lot with chocolate. We’re very much focused on pizza, especially given the traction that we have there. The partnerships that we do. I mentioned earlier, Pasquale Cozzolino. It’s great having around and having that input from the number one pizza chef in New York City, someone who’s ingenious himself, known for bringing Neapolitan style pizza stateside and has dabbled in technology extensively. It’s great having someone like that around.
One way we’ve done it is send that signal that you just mentioned, Tom, which is we’re dedicated, we’re focused on doing pizza really well. When you ask someone like that for help, they’re much, much, much more willing than let’s say a party that’s going for, “We’re trying to do everything and anything under the sun.” You just end up getting spread out far too thin.
Do you have any upcoming tradeshows or events that you’re going to be doing that someone who’s listening out there might be able to catch you at to see 3D printing food in action?
We do, definitely. Let’s go through at least the next two. We’ll be at the Ohio State University, one of the biggest universities, I think, in the world, certainly in the US. The reason we’ll be there is Anjan Contractor, our CEO, he’s a Ohio State University graduate. We’ll be in Columbus, Ohio on September 30th and October 1st. That’s in Columbus, Ohio on the Ohio State University’s campus. A lot of people will be there for that. We’re the centerpiece, let’s call it, of one of the major, major alumni events that they’ll hold on campus. Right after that, Anjan and I, and Anjan will be speaking at Smart Kitchen Summit up at Seattle, Washington. That is something that is backed by Williams Sonoma and a few others later on.
Demo-wise, we’ll be back in Santa Clara, California on the 21st of October for the IoT Tech Expo on day two of the Tech Expo. We have 30 minutes, fittingly right around lunch time actually, when everyone’s nice and hungry. Tracy, we’ll definitely be 3D printing food as a whole bunch of pizza. For us, that’s round two because we were last at the Santa Clara Convention Center back in May through the IoT World Expo. Something slightly different. This one is the Tech Expo in Santa Clara. We’ll be there again.
We have a pretty full slate. We do get a lot of asks to come and exhibit . People have described us as the Cinderella at the ball. What better than combining NASA and 3D printing and robots and pizza and kids?
Pizza and space.
It’s very, very accessible.
Event attracting. I can absolutely see it. We’ll make sure to have you keep us updated on your press releases about where you’re going to be, places. We’ll make sure to keep the blog post updated in the comments field. Listeners out there, if none of those work into your schedule, we’ll keep you posted as to the future events as well.
Definitely. We’ll have more after that. Just got to line them up. Those are just the few in the next 60 days or so.
I just ate lunch but I’m hungry. The pizza picture keeps scrolling across my screen. Thank you for that, Jordan. Thank you so much for joining us. We’re really so glad to get a chance to talk with you guys and talk with you and hear about what you guys are working on in the world of 3D food printing. We look forward to seeing this come to market next year.
We definitely are too. We should be able to make a big splash in the first half in really high profile events. Really good things underway. Ultimately, this is about helping people. It’s about making a very accessible food even more accessible. Doing it a bit better, or in some cases, a lot better, faster, cheaper, cleaner and more lively and more consistently. Trying to hit all of those notes and knock it out of the park and do it in a very special way.
I think you’re on your way.
3D Printing Food is Coming! – Final Thoughts
I got to tell you, I really am impressed with this company and what they’re doing because here, they’ve actually done something we have been talking about, about developing a 3D printer specifically for a particular type of thing you want to print. Here, they’ve made a 3D printer specifically for 3D printing food pizza, which has unique requirements and qualities. If they tried to make just a general food 3D printer, it probably wouldn’t have printed pizza really, really well. Here, they’ve made it specific. I think it’s admirable.
Starting with the question, can you have 3D printing food? That’s where they started from. They started from a question. As they started to dial that in, I love the process that they took. Starting from that question and then building into this idea that you can. It’s easier if you dial in and are very selective in your material choices, in your input of food types.
3D printing food needs to happen with a limited ingredient list, essentially. I’ve reviewed and seen the bigger 3D printers for food that are doing these more artistic sugar art and things like that. We’ve looked at those before. They’re beautiful and they’re admirable, but they are deconstructing food. You might do a crouton rebuild that’s for French onion soup, so it’s input to it. Or you’re doing a sugar piece that’s going to get melted into something else. You’re doing all of those things but they do it in a deconstructive way because they have to be limited in their material, in their input.
They’ve predetermined, really, a jet type of printing and everything has to fit into that. Here, they decided they were going to go and print pizza and what’s the best way to do it. When you think about it, 3D printing food, depending on the food that you’re going to print, really may require different delivery systems.
It’s really fascinating to hear how they’re using a pneumatic system to push and really inject almost, even though it’s not an injection molder or anything, but to squirt out different material, the sauce, the cheese and the dough. I thought the dough was going to be a lot harder. My gosh, to make a 3D food printer that actually can print the dough, I would have thought that was one of the most challenging things. But he seemed to say, “No, not that big a deal.” I thought that was amazing.
What I think was really interesting is that you’re going to say, “I’m going to print 3D food.” You’re just going to go out there and say, “I’m going to print 3D food.” They approached their business strategy, their marketing strategy, just as research-based and methodical as they did in the development of the printer. That’s what I think is really admirable about what they’ve got here. Is that they went in and they said, “Pizza is a limited set of ingredients.”
It would be really easy to just say, “Yeah, I’m going to do 3D printing food with pizza because it’s got the least amount of ingredients and that’s fine.” If you didn’t know and didn’t research and find out that pizza is the most universally acceptable food and the most appealing to the broadest audience, it might be a huge mistake of what you chose to do.
I found it fascinating that we’ve seen a lot of 3D printing food with chocolate, we’ve seen a lot of that. That’s another example of a printed food printer that is focused on a particular kind of food, which I think is really important. You’re going to do a better job if you focus on something. Chocolate is controversial. Like chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate. They realized that it was complicated by the complexities of chocolate itself and not as universal as pizza could be.
I think that’s just fascinating and so smart from a business strategy standpoint and a marketing strategy standpoint. Not just that, but then they looked at it and they said, “How are we going to deliver this?” They go into deciding on how they’re going to reach their market and where they’re going to deliver this. They decide that it’s a commercial model. It’s not just a commercial model, it’s a hospitality model. Restaurants and hotels and events and amusement parks and all of these things. It’s an event in and of itself. It’s part of the entertainment. It’s now food entertainment.
I just love their model of going about their business as well. They’re doing this so smart. No surprise to me considering the caliber of the four people involved in this company. They’re pretty serious. Amazing. Pretty serious guys. I really love it. They’re not just in the tech world. They’re in the marketing world, they’re in the business world. They’re doing all of this together with their four co-founders and they’re very well balanced. That’s a very impressive company.
If somebody had said to me a while ago, “You’re going to interview a 3D printing food pizza company.” I would have said, “Okay, yeah, okay.” We wouldn’t have been that excited about it. When I hear this kind of business plan, I know this is just the tip of the iceberg for what they’re going to be able to create. They will have built a really strong business. So what if they’re building it on pizza and it sounds basic? It’s not, it’s not at all.
The complexities and the nuances and what they’re building in this 3D printing food business goes way beyond pizza. I think I said it in the interview. This is not an easy bake oven type. This is a serious 3D printer they’re developing. They’re taking their time. They’re not rushing it to market. All too often, I see companies rush 3D printers to market just trying to get it out there fast. Of course it’s easier for some of them to try to do that if they’re using standard components.
There’s nothing standard that BeeHex is doing with this pizza 3D printer and thinking about 3D printing food. They’re taking their time and they’re planning hopefully to launch this in 2017. They’re doing all their homework between now and then in dialing it in and getting it all right.
We have gotten a lot of questions over the last year of people saying, “Can you 3D print food?” The reality is they’ve proven you absolutely can be 3D printing food. Others have proven it as well. What I like about it more is here, they’ve specialized in a particular food. What I think this should tell all of us is if you’re passionate about a certain type of food and you have an interest in starting a 3D printing company that make a food 3D printer of some kind, then absolutely, go and do it. Concentrate in your area of specialty for the kind of food you want to do and develop it. Obviously you’re going to have to raise capital and all that to do it and do it right. There’s a pretty wide open playing field here I think in the area of 3D printing food.
I just want to highlight, I think that the mistake is that the question is, “Can you 3D print food?” Instead, they went beyond. Can you 3D print food was the question when they were at NASA. Can you 3D print food within this environment? The question is, “Should you do 3D food printing?” At the end of the day, they found a place at which they should, can and will do 3D printing food. Inspired of course by the Star Trek replicator, which he said in the interview. That makes perfect sense. How much more fun can that be?
They’re actually making a replicator of sorts and wonderful opportunities. I look forward to seeing how they progress with their 3D printing food business. We’re going to have to follow up with him as he launches his product. I’d like to even get one to review because that’s really important. I think everybody needs to know. At least my stomach needs to know. I want that fancy chef though to provide the ingredients.
Anyway, we so appreciate Jordan coming on the show to talk about 3D printing food. That was just really so fortuitous to have that connection be made at this time for us. I’m really glad we got to put in another food 3D printing episode. It’s fantastic because who knew you were going to meet this guy through Walter O’Brien. This was not one of a 3D printing interview or a person in the industry that we sought out directly. Sometimes things come to us from another way, just through business networking. It’s fantastic.
If you have any questions and/or suggestions, for future episode or other people and other things that we should be thinking about, or you have any thoughts on 3D printing pizza or 3D printing food, we’d love to hear from you. Anywhere on social media @3DStartPoint and of course anywhere on the website, you can go to the comments or send emails.
I hope that most of you have seen this after lunch or after dinner. If not, I know you’re really hungry. You’re going to eat pizza now. If it’s before lunch or dinner, go out and find some pizza and think about how you might be able to go about 3D printing food. Isn’t that cool?
- Food Loves Tech
- The Smart Kitchen Summit
- Are There Countertop Food 3D Printers?
- Food 3D Printer Update
- 3D Print Your Own Breakfast
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