Company markets printer that can create and make food

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AUSTIN, Okla. -- As the world's population surges over 7 billion people, much of the conservation talk at SXSW Eco has to do with how to sustain that growing population.

KXAN found one very interesting and surprising idea to help accomplish that - and it all started when NASA decided they wanted to send astronauts to Mars.

"Imagine for five years, someone has to eat MREs," Anjan Contractor, developer of the 3D food printer, said in reference to astronauts on extended space travel. "That's just absolutely terrible."

"They wanted to investigate other technologies that can provide sustainable nutrients and food source to astronauts," Contractor said.

Enter the 3D food printer.

Powdered ingredients that can keep for years are mixed into individual vessels. A heated plate then receives a square of dough, a layer of sauce, and some cheese topping. Twelve minutes later - voila - an appetizing little pizza that had one fly very interested.

"We can pretty much provide food-on-table with very few resources," Contractor said. "So we believe that this is the future of food."

The SXSW Eco conference kicked off at the Austin Convention Center this morning.

Over the next three days, 250 speakers will talk about their conservation efforts relating to water, energy, and transportation.

While the finished product looks and smells like pizza, we can't actually dig-in until the company gets approval from the FDA for the food that they are printing. But they say in the future, this technology could be in every kitchen to help feed a growing world.