It’s recently come to our attention that a company by the name of Nourished has carved out a niche for themselves by offering made-to-order gummy vitamins produced with their own custom designed 3D printers. Customers can either select from an array of pre-configured “stacks”, or dial in their own seven layers of gelatinous goodness for a completely bespoke supplement.
Now we can’t vouch for whether or not taking a custom supplement like this is any better than just popping a traditional multi-vitamin, but we’ll admit the hardware Nourished has developed is pretty interesting. As briefly seen in the video after the break, large syringes are filled with the seven different vitamin suspensions, and then loaded into what appears to be a heated chamber for extrusion. This is not unlike other food-grade 3D printers we’ve seen, such as the Cocoa Press.
It looks like all of the syringes are being depressed simultaneously with a plate and a pair of beefy lead screws, so it seems the order in which the layers are placed down must be different for each nozzle. A blog post on the company’s site from early last year shows a wildly different machine being used to produce the vitamins, so either their core technology is changing rapidly, or perhaps the printer being used depends on whether they’re running off the customized stacks versus the standard formulations.
Interestingly, this is very similar to a concept floated by the U.S. Army’s Combat Feeding Directorate (CFD) back in 2014. They reasoned that a 3D printer could be used to produce meal bars that were customized for each soldier’s personal nutritional needs. Being largely impractical for the battlefield, the program didn’t get very far. But thanks to consumers who are willing to pay the premium that Nourished is charging for this service, it seems the idea has turned into a lucrative business model.