The Podcast: Columbia University’s 3D-printed food

The Podcast

The Podcast: Columbia University’s 3D-printed food

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Columbia engineer Jonathan Blutinger discusses his research into 3D printed meals and how the digitization of cooking is better for the environment. Also, wildfires are getting worse, and climate change is to blame. After you listen, head check out our recent feature on a tech startup 3D-printing steaks and an Indian agritech-focused venture capital company connecting rural farmers with investors.


In this episode…


  • As usual, host Jared Downing opens with a climate news update, this time, drawing from our roundup of this year’s wildfires, he discusses how climate change is causing bigger and more frequent wildfires in new places, like normally frozen parts of Siberia.


  • Next (at minute 3:35) Jared speaks with Jonathan Blutinger about his work developing 3D food printers and what it could mean for the future of cooking. Blutinger believes we are on the verge of a future where affordable 3D food printers will do for cooking what the iPod did for music, allowing people to share and download recipes and cook them with the push of a button. They may not be perfect facsimiles, but, he argues, they will allow for more energy efficient supply and production chains, more customization, and less food waste.


  • Finally (at minute 22:25) Jared uses a story about box cake mixes to open a commentary on the food technology sector. Drawing from our feature about 3D printed steaks, he talks about why people are so resistant to new technology replacing time-honored traditions. But in a world where large-scale crop and livestock agriculture is a leading source of greenhouse gasses, more efficient food innovations could be crucial for halting climate change.

Written by

Jared Downing

Jared Downing is managing editor of Climate & Capital Media. Before Climate&Capital, he spent five years in Yangon, Myanmar, producing the human rights podcast Doh Athan and producing features, columns, and cartoons for Frontier Myanmar, that country's leading English language magazine. Prior to that, he was a freelance writer in Birmingham Alabama, focusing on city culture and social justice.