Industry Insider Nina Hoff on 3D Food Printing

Women in 3D Printing’s mission is to increase the visibility of women in the Additive Manufacturing industry and encourage more women to use 3D Printing technologies. We have been doing so by highlighting female leaders and innovators on our platform since 2014. To provide even more insights on female experts in the Additive Manufacturing Industry, we are inviting women to contribute to this series by sharing their business and tech expertise through guest blog posts to be published as Industry Insiders series.

Nina Hoff is the CEO of byFlow – an innovative company specialized in 3D Food Printing. When in 2015 her brother, Floris Hoff, showed to her his own developed 3D Printer, she immediately saw business in the product and together with her brother and father, founded byFlow. As Nina has an educational background and prior experience in business & management, she decided to take the lead within the company. Since then, byFlow has opened up the 3D Food Printing market with their first product, a 3D Food Printer called “the Focus”, and has been constantly working towards a growing the company. The company established partnerships with leading Multinational companies, such as Barry Callebaut (the largest Chocolate Manufacturer) and R&D facilities, cooperates with several leaders within the Food Industry and finds itself on a mission to change the way how people prepare and experience food.


3D Food Printing  – THINK. DESIGN. CREATE. EAT!

With the world population set to reach 8 billion by 2024, the challenge is on to feed the world in a sustainable, safe and healthy manner. When we add to this the increased role of technology in society and higher than ever demand for nutritious and personalised food, the need for the food & technology industry to respond becomes even bigger. One of the expected solutions that will contribute to solving these problems is 3D Food Printing

What does 3D Food Printing really mean?

3D Food Printing is a quite new and booming branch of the industry. It has been researched intensively for the last few years and according to the current market research data, it is expected to be valued at USD 425.0 Million by 2025 [Global 3D Food Printing Sales Market Report 2017].  Why is it growing so fast and what does it really mean? From the technological point of view, it is additive manufacturing which uses food products as printing material. From food industry’s point of view, it is an evolving and promising food production method and cooking technique. It combines scientific, technological, business and artistic approach and therefore, is a hot topic for educational and R&D facilities, for multinationals in the food industry, but also for chefs, chocolatiers, bakeries, catering business and last but definitely not least – for the final consumers. It involves everyone who creates and experiences food. It has potential to revolutionize our everyday life and add value to the world’s sustainable development.

How do 3D Food Printers work?

The most widely used 3D Food Printers are based on the deposition technology, which means that paste-like materials are deposited layer-by-layer to create three-dimensional objects. Although there are other possibilities of technological approaches, like the usage of powdered sugar which is selectively bound to create solid objects, the deposition technology is simpler and more effective, as it enables printing with a broad range of food ingredients.

The Focus, a 3D Food Printer developed by byFlow (http://www.3dbyflow.com/), is based on the deposit technology as well.  Our Dutch company has experience in 3D Printing since 2009 and has become an expert in the field of 3D Printed Food and is now seen as one of the key players worldwide currently on the market. Our goal at byFlow is to develop 3D Food Printers which are compact, portable, easy-to-use and therefore – accessible to everyone. We achieved our first success in 2015, when a 3D Food Printer “the Focus” was ready for common sale and quickly entered the food industry.

How can 3D Food Printing be used?

As mentioned before, 3D Food Printing brings possibilities in different fields and various areas of application.

First, it makes it possible to design and create food in shapes and textures that were not achievable before. The Focus, 3D Food Printer by byFlow is easy to maintain and easy-to-use, which makes it a perfect “cooking” device for innovative representatives of the food industry. The secret lies in the right preparation of a printable paste, made out of fresh ingredients only. Vegetables, meat, dairy, chocolate, marzipan – they can all become a beautiful 3D-printed dish of the future. Therefore, 3D Food Printing contributes to a whole new experience of fine dining and gets popular among Top Chefs, Caterers, Bakeries, Chocolatiers and Food Designers, who are now using this technology to experiment with structure and shapes.

Second, 3D Food Printing can be a commercial added value not only through attracting more customers. It can also optimize the process of production, save effort and save time. Although we are not sure yet if a 3D Food Printer can ever fully replace a human being, which has been raised by some of the opponents, it’s undoubtedly attractive for the food industry that the device makes it possible to achieve handmade quality with the technological production method. There are already examples of successful application of 3D food printing with such a purpose and very soon, the market’s demand will push the supply of more solutions.

However, 3D Food Printing is not only an attractive technology for food-related businesses. It is also on its way to find solutions for the increasing demand for personalized dieting, for the disquieting amount of food waste and for the necessity of sustainable development. That is why R&D facilities and Multinational Companies in the Food Industry get involved in 3D Food Printing as well. A great example is a project launched by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia, which uses 3D Food Printing to find a way to produce personalized and genetically targeted food. Another one is implementing 3D Food Printing in the facilities for elderly people where a lot of residents suffer from swallowing problems. The general idea behind it is that healthy and very nutritious food can be 3D printed in nice shapes, instead of being always served as a paste or a smoothie. Food is one of the most important parts of our everyday life and culture to be replaced in the future by a “whole-meal-pill”. Therefore, there is a need for the development of personalized and healthy food, which would preserve the experience of eating. 3D Food Printing is one of the promising solutions.  

Undoubtedly, the 3D Food Printing market is expected to witness a phenomenal rise over the forthcoming years. However, not everyone knows that this technology is not anymore in its research phase only. Thanks to the companies like byFlow, the 3D Food Printers can be already purchased and used on a daily basis. The possibilities are endless – just think, design, create and EAT!


More information about byFlow is available here. 

This is a guest post in our series Industry Insiders. If you’d like to participate in this series then contact us for more information.

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