When a mega-chocolate star like Hershey starts eyeing 3D printing as a production resource for its confectionery line, other majors in the category are soon to follow. What?s that mean for the credibility of 3D printing foods in general? Lots!
What?s at stake
The global chocolate market is expected to grow to $98.3B by 2016 at an estimated CAGR of 2.7% from 2011 to 2016, say chocolate Industry analysts Markets and Markets.
Demand in Asia is a major source in the growth of sales, and is expected to rise to a 20 percent share in the global market by 2016. The U.S. leads the chocolate market in North America with a market share of around 86.3 percent, while Japan leads the Asian market with a 39 percent market share.
In Europe, the UK has the largest demand with a market share of 16.4 percent, followed by Germany with 15.9 percent.
Last January, TECHSPOT, reported on 3D Systems and Hershey for the home market: “The multi-year deal will see the two companies collaborate on ways to develop a 3D printer that can create chocolate goodies and other edibles right at home… 3D Systems said the creation of chocolate printers is a good way to help the new technology go mainstream.
“And according to William Papa, head of research and development at Hershey, it?s a way for the company to embrace new technologies to keep moving their confectionery treats into the future.”
Seems now that the pair are sweet on each other for commercial interests as well.
CONFECTIONARY NEWS: 3D Systems is collaborating with chocolate manufacturing giant Hershey?s to develop 3D-printed chocolates fit for the commercial market.
Hershey?s would not disclose any details about its plans for 3D confectionery but director, corporate communication, Jeff Beckman commented: ?We are embarking on the multi-year exploration of 3D printing for edible foods. It is too soon to have any definitive outcome from this work, which has just begun.?
The announcement precedes the launch of 3D Systems latest ChefJet ?kitchen ready? printers targeting mainstream markets and designed to make chocolate and sugar-based confectionery.
Competition fuels action
3D printers are primarily used by technicians to create prototypes for new designs at the moment but 3D pioneers ?like 3D Systems and Stratasys ? have stepped up the pace to become the first to commercialize confectionery-grade machines as competition emerges from new entrants.
Xerox Corporation is also preparing to stake a claim pending a patent application for its printed ?3D-tempered chocolate? technology.