Consumers demand more personalised and healthy foods. This trend combined with hectic lifestyle and snacking requires new on-site technologies to satisfy consumers' needs. VTT created a prototype of a mini cupcake factory, which enables on-site production of personalised, healthy snacks in order to show that instant food production with tailored recipes is possible today.
VTT's cupcake machine produces on-demand single serving fresh, warm cakes starting from scratch in a matter of minutes. The user can choose a sweet or savoury cake and personalise its flavour or boost the nutritional content by choosing various protein and/or dietary fibre options. The outcome is a healthy, moist, evenly baked, soft and fluffy cupcake hyper-personalized to your taste and nutrition. It contains less sugar and fats than normally, as well as extra amounts of fibres and protein.
The results of a useability test indicate that consumers associate added value with the machine. Especially the freshness of the product and ease of use of the machine were appreciated among trial participants.
"We all need little indulgence to keep us going throughout the day. Cakes and cupcakes are one of the most popular indulgent foods but usually with a poor nutritional profile. We don't need to end our love affair with indulgent foods, we just need to reshape and also include healthier notes", says Research Professor Nesli Sözer from VTT.
The cupcake machine is an outcome of VTT's own funded project. Ingredient and recipe modification to enable instant baking together with machine hardware design and prototyping resulted in a machine with several custom-built components, capable of producing high quality cakes in a very short time.
Custom-made food categories are already a reality in food industry, but they do not answer individual needs and preferences. However, with the developments in digitalisation and networking technologies, the future of food production puts consumers more at the centre, enabling hyper-personalization, meaning that consumers can choose individually customised food that supports wellbeing and ethical values.