Role of Prosumer Driven 3D Food Printing in Innovating Food Value Chains

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesis


Digital platforms have created an impact in almost all facets of our life in a short period. Today, they are an integral and critical part of consumer experience. When combined with revolutionary 3d printing technology, these platforms are great enablers of prosumption, i.e., production undertaken by consumers. The associated paradigm change is already visible in the specialized goods sector. With the emergence of 3d food printing technology, similar changes are very much anticipated in the food sector.

The purpose of this master’s thesis is to create an understanding on how digitally-driven 3d food printing could be best utilized for food prosumption. Three research questions were raised with an aim of identifying key challenges, and uncertainties in prosumer driven 3d food printing; defining the characteristics and customization parameters of a prosumer platform for 3d food printing; and identifying most potential archetypes and use cases for prosumer-driven 3d food printing. To answer the research questions, 3 research themes were identified, namely food value chain, prosumption, and 3d food printing.

After an extensive literature review process based upon the research themes, relevant data were gathered using Mixed Methods Research (MMR) approach. 15 semi-structured interviews were conducted with experts from industry and academia. This was followed by a quantitative survey with a pool of respondents from within the identified research themes. Finally, a stakeholder workshop was carried out to finalize and further refine the concepts generated through MMR.

Personalized nutrition is found to be an area where 3d food printing has a lot of scope, especially for applications in fitness centres, senior homes, and hospitals. Also, utilization of prosumer driven 3d food printing in fine dining restaurants has one of the highest business potential and feasibility at this point of time. Overall, the research implies that leveraging digital platforms in 3d food printing has the potential to generate futuristic food value chains that are connected, collaborative, data-driven, and transparent.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Partanen, Jouni, Supervising Professor
Award date11 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2017
MoE publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis


  • 3D food printing
  • digital platforms
  • prosumption
  • food value chains
  • mixed methods research
  • use cases


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