It’s February 14, which means there’s a good chance you’ll give or receive chocolate at some point today. The chances that that chocolate will be 3D printed? Slim to nil.
But all that could soon change thanks to Barry Callebaut AG, a company that makes roughly one-fourth of all the world’s chocolate, including that used by well-known brands like Hershey’s and Nestlé. According to a press release from the Swiss corporation, it will work with gourmet clients to let them print personalized chocolate designs en masse through Mona Lisa, its chocolate decoration brand. In short — Barry Callebaut will help brands print customized chocolate creations.
Business partners can develop their own custom designs and specify size parameters for their chocolate. They’ll then share those with Barry Callebaut, which will print the custom chocolates in large quantities at its Mona Lisa 3D Studio. Barry Callebaut can print thousands of a particular design succession thanks to its new 3D printing tech, which keeps melted chocolate at the perfect temperature for speedy printing.
Chocoholics will have to wait a while before they can buy these 3D printed creations in stores, though. Barry Callebaut will first work with high-end clients, like hotels, pastry chefs and coffee chains. Its first customer will be Dutch hotel chain Van der Valk. Down the road, Barry Callebaut will open up its tech to use with manufacturers such as Nestlé and Hershey.
For aspiring chocolatiers who don’t want to wait, there are some home options. Mycusini is a countertop chocolate printer (though it’s only available in Europe). The Mayku Formbox lets you print DIY chocolate molds at home. And while it’s not available yet, but the Cocoterra lets you make bean-to-bar chocolate right in your kitchen.
Barry Callebaut’s tech is perfectly situated to tap into a trend we at the Spoon have been seeing everywhere lately: personalization. The chocolate-maker can’t produce individualized chocolates for every person, obviously — the Mona Lisa 3D Studio will be printing chocolates on a large scale. But with this new 3D printing service, businesses can get more creative with their sugary marketing and branding efforts. For example, Starbucks could make a line of hot chocolate sticks (it’s a thing!) in the shape of their signature coffee cups. Or your favorite hotel line could make pillow chocolates shaped like pillows!
As consumer demand for personalization grows, CPG companies are hustling to figure out how to tap into the trend — even when manufacturing in massive quantities. In fact, that’s one of the questions we’ll be tackling at Customize, our food personalization summit happening in NYC on February 27th! If you want to come, use code SPOON15 to grab 15 percent off your tickets.