A German candy maker is hoping to tempt the taste-buds of Berliners with customized fruit gum sweets made with a 3D printer.
German company Katjes (pron. CUT-yes) say they have developed a way to produce food from a 3D printer. A Katjes store in Berlin's trendy Mitte district showcases the Magic Candy Factory where sweet-lovers young and old can choose from 3D template designs that include individual fruit gum animals and shapes, as well as letters and words.
The 3D printer at Cafe Gruen Ohr (Cafe Green Ear) is the first ever to produce fruit gum candy, according to Katjes.
The makers hope that allowing customers to choose their own custom-made sweets will give the printed product a sense of magic.
"Candy is the perfect medium to bring this really cool concept to the consumer in a friendly and fun way," explained managing director for Magic Katjes UK, Melissa Snover.
"The Magic Candy Factory focuses on the idea that science actually is magic and if we look at it that way and we focus on the amazing ability to create, and not the cold technology side, then we create an incredible experience for the customer and start getting people warmed up to 3D-printed food," she added, showcasing the fruit gum creations in Berlin.
Customers can choose from a range of designs and flavors on a tablet. The trade-marked 3D printer then extrudes lines of the heated fruit gum mixture to build the design into a 3D product.
"The heated fruit gum mixture is transmitted via a nozzle and line by line, it creates a shape or a word. Because the fruit gum mixture dries immediately, we are able to put one layer on top of the other. This is how we achieve the 3D effect," said Stephanie Speckmann, from Katjes' public relations company.
According to Snover, her company has been making candy "in a traditional way for a long time. But one of the limitations of that is that you can't really make anything unless you are willing to make a million of it."
Using the popular new production method of 3D printing means customers can personalize their candy.
"What the Magic Candy Factory allows us to do is make a different candy customized every single time so every single customer walks out with exactly what they want. So to me, that's a dream come true, that's where the inspiration came from," she said.
Katjes currently stocks 14 designs of the fruit gum treats, retailing at a cost of five euros (around $5.60 USD). Sweets that features words or names cost ten euros ($11 USD) each.
While the Magic Candy factory's parent company Katjes International had a turnover of 146 million euros ($163 million USD) in 2014, 3D printed sweets are only available in Berlin at the moment. The company plans to expand its technology beyond Cafe Gruen Ohr to other European cities.