Inhabitat: So to start, tell me about how the Foodini and Natural Machines came together.
Lynette: It started a little bit over a year ago. There are four founders in the company and I came in around August. Prior to that, the three founders were working Foodini as a sweets or cake machine with the idea that you would buy prefilled capsules of ingredients that could make a cake or a tart or some type of chocolate. It would print the recipe for you.
They came up with that because two of the founders come from a baking background. Looking at the costs of getting cakes and sweets out, most of the money is in the shipping and getting them out on the market. They thought if they eliminated that channel by allowing you to print cakes at home you would save money on that.
I came on board around the August–September timeframe, looked at Foodini and said it’s really the same 3D printing technology underlying, why don’t we branch out to the savory market. We decided to start trying savory food and it actually worked out pretty well.
With all the concerns in the world about obesity and people eating too much processed food, a good kitchen appliance would help bring people back into the kitchen. It’s about promoting home cooking, which is sometimes the opposite of what people think when they hear 3D food printing.
Inhabitat: Does the Foodini 3D printer require prefilled capsules of food?
Lynette: The original idea was also to have consumers buy prefilled so you wouldn’t have to prepare anything. Now what we did is turn the idea upside down. The Foodini will ship with vessels that are empty, so you put in the fresh food.
There are a couple of reasons for doing that. One is you can use fresh food, you don’t have to use anything with preservatives because usually with foods that have a long shelf life have preservatives to make it last. Hence the reason things start becoming unhealthy.
Secondly, there’s such a wide variety of tastes it would almost be impossible to bottle it all. For instance, you might like basil infused pasta whereas I like tomato infused one. With all the different mixes of ingredients you can use, it’s better to have an open capsule model.