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A Dutch start-up uses raw milk to print 3D cheese

It is well known that the Netherlands is at the forefront of innovation in the agricultural sector. It is therefore no wonder that the country also puts a lot of energy into developing innovative technology for food production systems.

Dutch woman Michaela Van Leeuwen who, together with her husband, runs a dairy farm in Cortenoever (the province of Gheldria, the Netherlands) with 130 cows that produce a million litres of milk per year, has created Print Cheese, an innovative start-up to print 3D cheese from raw milk.

Mrs Van Leeuwen presented her business model at the 3D Food Printing Conference in Venlo, the Netherlands, on April 12 this year. The main objective of the Van Leeuwens is to give added value to products by using their own milk to make cheese on-site and print unusual shapes and create new products. This way, eating cheese will become a truly interesting experience.

Prior to the launch of Print Cheese, the Van Leeuwens carried out a series of tests with TNO, a contract research organisation based in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The first test was run last August. A number of blends were tested and it was discovered that any air in the print material had an adverse effect on the product. Goat cheese was the most successful. The challenge now will be to print with two or more materials.

Michaela Van Leeuwen believes that 3D food printing represents the future. “The first households and restaurants will have their own food printers in the next 10 years”, she stated, adding that “we will see 3D printers that can print with chocolate, flour, sugar and pasta on-site.” “In the future, we can expect to see more shapes combining flavours and ingredients such as nuts and fruit, and additives such as vitamins and minerals,” she said.