An exploratory consumer study of 3D printed food perception in a real-life military setting

Sophie Caulier, Esmée Doets, Martijn Noort*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


3D printing has the potential to produce on-demand food tailored to individuals’ needs and preferences. The present study explored 3D printed food acceptance in a real-life military setting. Over a period of 4 weeks, soldiers consumed and evaluated multiple recovery snack bars. In week 1, participants received a benchmark bar that was created with conventional manufacturing processes. In week 2 to 4 participants received a 3D printed snack bar with increasing customisation options: choice of texture (soft or crunchy) in week 2; choice of texture and taste (sweet or savoury) in week 3; and choice of texture, taste and ingredients (4 types of dough, 13 types of filling) in week 4. Attitudes towards 3D food printing and potential drivers of 3D printed food acceptance were assessed in weeks 1 and 4 before and after repeated consumption of the snack bars. After repeated consumption participants judged 3D printed food to be significantly better as compared to before consumption (t = 2.86, p = 0.015). Food neophobia, food technology neophobia and food choice motives did not change during the experiment (all p > 0.05). The benchmark bar was liked better than the 3D printed bars. However, among the 3D printed bars, mean scores on overall liking, and liking of taste and texture were highest for the version that was customized most (week 4). Our findings illustrate that consumer empowerment, desired degree of personalisation, state of development and appropriateness of 3D food printing technology all play a role in 3D printed food acceptance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104001
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • 3D printing
  • Acceptance
  • Consumer attitudes
  • Consumer empowerment
  • Food product development


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