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3D Printing Marzipan Animals and Fruit in Germany’s Luebeck

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Since centuries, Marzipan from Luebeck adheres to strict rules on the amount of almond paste in the product. Now 3D printing starts livening up the scene. 

Do you think the almond treat Marzipan is out-dated and associate it with your grandparents? No wonder, as it actually dates back to the Middle Ages.

It’s an important tradition in Germany, especially around Christmas time. But market pressures mean companies are having to come up with new ways to compete. So, one German company based in Luebeck is changing the perception of the sweet Christmas treat by modernizing it.

This is the idea of Niederegger, a family-run confectionary store founded in 1806. At the busy Niederegger store in central Luebeck, the 3D printer is churning out animals and fruit goodies. However, the machine doesn’t yet compete with the handmade traditional treats.

But, in order to attract more business — and not compromise on the content of almond paste — Niederegger hope the 3D printer can attract attention throughout the year. Currently, 60% of sales occur during Christmas time.


3D Printing Meets Candy

Currently, marzipan from Luebeck is protected by the European Union. This means there are strict rules surrounding its almond paste content hence why many businesses struggle.

“When you think that we have 2/3 almonds and only 1/3 sugar, you have to think that the price (of the marzipan) would need to double at least,” when the cost of almonds quadruples, explains Kathrin Gaebel, a Niederegger spokeswoman.

With the price of nuts rising due to drought in California, marzipan companies are taking on higher costs to create the treats. This has caused many companies in Luebeck to go bankrupt.

Niederegger is keeping afloat. However, it has needed help from the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The small company received €885,000 euros to be spent on quicker production methods.

Could 3D printing be the answer? Or is it tradition that keeps the marzipan industry alive in Luebeck?

Needless to say, it’s an important custom the state is willing to keep up. “As a child, you get it as a gift and you give it to children as a gift,” explains Eva Mura, a Niederegger spokeswoman.

Source: Hindustan Times


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