Daniela Guaqueta Garcia | ALES Graduate Seminar

Date(s) - 02/05/2024
9:00 am - 10:00 am
3-18J Agricultural/Forestry Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Event details: A graduate exam seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.
This is an ALES MSc Final Exam Seminar by Daniela Guaqueta Garcia. This seminar is open to the general public to attend.

Zoom Link:  https://ualberta-ca.zoom.us/j/95805543567?pwd=U1E1bEppS3dPa3JWbll5a2FlRnprUT09

MSc with Dr. Wendy Wismer

Thesis Topic: Adoption of 3D food printing technologies in the food industry


3D Food Printing (3DFP) technology is emerging as a promising solution for consumer demands on food personalization, nutrition, and sustainability, given its unprecedented levels of customization and versatility in food applications. Successful application of 3DFP relies on industry stakeholders’ acceptance as well as that of consumers. Economic, social, and business implications in the practical adoption in the food industry of 3DFP have been overlooked. Opinions about technology implementation from early adopters are valuable for potential adopters’ decision-making, while potential adopters’ perspectives can reveal adoption opportunities and barriers. Implementation of the well-known Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) framework has supported the examination of innovation adoption considering the adoption process, adopter characteristics, technology characteristics and social factors. Therefore, this research investigated the determinants of 3DFP adoption in the food industry by first interviewing nine food businesses around the globe implementing 3DFP technologies to understand factors influencing practical adoption and second, surveying 118 representatives from food sectors in Alberta, Canada, to examine readiness for adoption. The DOI model was implemented to study the current and potential adoption of 3DFP, an approach not researched before.

Interviews with 3DFP industry adopters revealed early adoption in food service, confectionery, protein alternatives, and healthcare food manufacturing businesses. Businesses’ entrepreneurial spirit, technology compatibility with business needs, and public interest encouraged early adopters to 3DFP adoption. Businesses acknowledged 3DFP benefits over conventional technologies in operational efficiency, product design, customization, food versatility, convenience, and sustainability. Relevance of technology benefits was prioritized based on business priorities. Small scale, high investment cost, negative consumer perception, and low involvement of large organizations emerged as challenges for sustainable adoption in food businesses. To overcome barriers to 3DFP adoption, it is paramount to address the technology small scale. This will enhance the visibility and accessibility of 3D printed products, raising awareness and interest among consumers and potential users. Moreover, as per businesses’ opinions, consumers’ low awareness and hesitancy about 3DFP require resolution through market education, including alternative technology labeling and use of food and technology familiarity.

The survey revealed that among Alberta food service, confectionery, bakery, and healthcare food service sectors, the most relevant 3DFP features for potential implementation were costs per serving, technical support, technology maintenance, ease of cleaning, and efficiency. Nearly three-quarters of Alberta food sector participants lack knowledge about 3DFP. Two-thirds of the participants showed interest in adopting 3DFP. Full-scale projects, training programs, government initiatives, knowledge-sharing programs, and demonstrated effective and economically viable applications are crucial to realizing its potential across food sectors and supporting readiness for 3DFP adoption. Implementation of the DOI model revealed that despite a wide range of benefits of 3DFP, the technology must align with business objectives and demonstrate advantages over conventional methods to support adoption. Determinants of 3DFP adoption in the food industry identified in this research provide valuable insights for academia, policymakers, food industry stakeholders in Alberta, and similar food sectors in other unexplored areas.

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