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Students present Professional Assignment in 3D food printing at the Delta Agrifood Business

People who are able to chew or swallow without a problem can barely imagine what it’s like not being able to get your teeth into a good chunk of meat or a crunchy piece of broccoli. However, for people with a swallowing disorder, known as dysphagia, this is a daily reality and they have to make do with mashed food. For them, there is a real demand for solutions that contribute to a better taste and eating experience.

Students from HAS University of Applied Sciences have been exploring the potential offered by 3D food printing. A key aspect of this Professional Assignment (PA) has been how the impact of 3D printed food can be tested on people with dysphagia. HAS University of Applied Sciences students Yasin El Bouzidi and Jessie Sanders (Food Innovation) and Quinty Gijsbrechts (Food Technology) worked on the project under the supervision of professor Antien Zuidberg for the Research Centre for Design Methods in Food. The project was partly funded by a grant from the Innovation Alliance Foundation (SIA). In addition, HAS University of Applied Sciences also worked in a consortium with the municipality of Bergen op Zoom, Budelfood (part of Budelpack), Zorgwaard, tanteLouise and Stichting Groenhuysen.

Ethical protocol and logistics plan

After conducting desk research in to the literature on the subject, the students held interviews with, among others, experts from care homes. Subsequently, an ethical protocol was drawn up in order to be able to carry out the tests in an ethical way. In addition to this protocol, the students also set up a logistics and test plan. This report explains how the 3D printed meals will be implemented in the care homes and describes how the effect of 3D printed meals can be tested.

Salmon and lasagne

For the actual test, which will take place as part of a PA starting in February 2021, the students have developed 10 different shapes and recipes, and used these to create sample meals. For example, using 3D food printing, they have developed a salmon steak and lasagne that can be eaten by people with dysphagia without any problem, and which does not detract from the taste and eating experience.

Hub in the Southwest Delta

The final presentation of this PA took place on 25 June at Delta Agrifood Business (DAB) in Bergen op Zoom. DAB is an open innovation and expertise centre for business and education in the field of plant-based agrifood. For the Southwest Delta, the agrifood sector is of major economic value, as is the role of DAB as an open innovation and expertise centre within it. Both HAS University of Applied Sciences and Budelfood are located in the premises of DAB.