5 Strange Food Inventions You’ve Never Heard Of

By Rachel Cernansky, Planet Green

The chefs on Future Food are changing our relationship with food, but they’re not the only ones working on crazy inventions in food technology. Here’s a look at a few other ideas that are already becoming a reality.

3D food printer. A bit more of an unexpected way to deliver food, and a little mind-numbing, is “The Cornucopia,” a machine developed by a team at MIT that literally prints food. The printer contains canisters with foods and flavors–think ink cartridges with edible ingredients–and uses a rapid heating and cooling chamber to create a unique combination of flavors and textures.

Space plants. You’ve probably heard of hydroponics–and more recently aquaponics–but aeroponics takes efficiency in food-growing to a whole new level by growing plants suspended in mid-air using only water and a nutrient-laden mist. Although it is less forgiving than hydroponics, since plants grown using aeroponics need a precise nutrient-water balance, it is far more efficient: the method uses up to 90 percent less water, 60 percent less fertilizer, and 100 percent less pesticides than conventional cultivation, and allows plants to capture carbon dioxide and oxygen more effectively.

Next: A step beyond vending machines, and food that can heat itself…

The Automat, a closer-to-real-food equivalent of vending machines, reached its peak popularity in the 1940s and 1950s, which seems like it was kind of ahead of its time in terms of technology and the ever-growing demand for convenience in food that we tend to associate with the last two or three decades. The machine faded with the rise of fast food, but it’s making a (small) comeback in New York City.

Heatables: self-heating food packaging. It sounds pretty weird, and Tempra Technology, the company behind the product, hasn’t released much information about how it works. But it exists: packaging that can heat food–of any sort, including soups, coffee/tea, pasta, snacks–to its ideal serving temperature in minutes, without a separate heating appliance. (Just hope it’s not made of plastic.)

The can that cools itself: also from Tempra Technology, the I.C. Can is designed with a self-cooling device to reduce the temperature of its contents by at least 30 degrees in three minutes. The can contains a vacuum, which houses a desiccant that when activated, draws heat from the beverage through the evaporator and into an insulated heat-sink container. That drops the temperature, and voila, your beer is chilled–no ice, no fridge, just a cold drink.

Are you anxious to try any of these futuristic food inventions?


Yvette S.
Yvette S6 years ago

Sorry but i'm not sure what to think!

Duane B.
.6 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 6 years ago


Valerie G.
Val G7 years ago

Thanks for posting Megan.

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M8 years ago

Thanks for sharing this...Food Printers...what a hoot. But I do like the idea of aerophonics...as it uses 100% less fertilizer

Lin Moy
Lin M8 years ago

Isn't printed food like fake food?

Peter Clarke
Peter C8 years ago

space plants and cold beer please

Pam R.
Past Member 8 years ago

From Tempra's website:
We’re ready to start working with strategic partners to incorporate our technology into containers and packaging for mass production to enable consumers to enjoy a hot meal whenever and wherever they want.
Sounds ot me like this will be something incorporated into existing packaging of 'convenience' foods like microwavable meals.
I would imaging that it will be one-use.

Wonder if it is similar to the instant freeze packs used in first-aid kits? They use chemicals, mixed by breaking a vial inside a plastic bag, to make the pack cold within seconds.
MRE's (meals-ready-to-eat, used by the military) have heating technology, so the food is hot. That's nothing new.

If this is all throw-away, one-use stuff, i'm definitely not interested, even if it is environmentally safe, biodegradable, still nothing I would want, and certainly not willing to pay a premium for, as they state on their web site.

Bon L.
Bon L8 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Patricia Y.
Patricia Y8 years ago

That stuff is a hoot. Thanks.