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Introducing Foodini: The machine that 3D prints your meals

A company called Natural Machines has developed a product that 3D prints food.

The "Foodini" works on the same principles as a standard 3D printer but secretes edible ingredients out of stainless steel capsules.

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Lynette Kucsma, co-founder of Natural Machines explained the challenges of using food as the printing medium.

"It's the same technology, but with plastics there's just one melting point, whereas with food it's different temperatures, consistencies and textures," she said. "Also, gravity works a little bit against us, as food doesn't hold the shape as well as plastic."

The Barcelona-based startup describe the device as "a mini food manufacturing plant shrunk down to the size of an oven," and will initially market it to professional kitchen users. There are plans in place, however, for a consumer version which has a projected retail price of $1,000 (£625).

The company is also keen to stress that the Foodini is not aimed at cutting corners or producing low-quality food at speed, but rather to carry out the complex food preparation tasks that discourage people from cooking at home.

Natural Machines is working with major food manufacturers to create pre-packaged capsules to load into the device, but these will only contain fresh ingredients that have a shelf life of up to five days.

The Foodini is capable of producing complex designs and completing precise tasks such as cake decorations, but currently the device only prints the food. A future version is being planned that will prepare and then cook ready-to-eat meals.

Kucsma also described the product as "an Internet-of-Things, connected kitchen appliance," as it comes with a touchscreen enabling users to share recipes online.

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Should the company acquire the necessary funding, the Foodini should begin mass production in the second half of 2015.