Scientists and engineers have been experimenting with the use of 3D printers to create soy, according to 3Dprint.com.

The website, which claims to be “the voice of 3D printing”, noted businesses that choose to 3D print soy products may be eligible to receive research and development tax credits. Creating soy products, such as tofu, with a 3D printer is easy, according to the website.

“Simply use a 3D printer to make a tofu press machine and then process your own tofu. This tofu press drains the water from the tofu parts allowing it to form individual foam-like squares…It is affordable and a great alternative for various types of tofu including fresh, soft, firm and even frozen tofu.”

Furthermore, whilst plastic is normally used to 3D print, a thermoplastic can be created using soy. Many scientists and researchers are now using soy to print food, as well as different objects, in a bid to be more sustainable.

“Businesses are looking for ways to become ‘greener’ and provide renewable resources to replace the petrochemical products are therefore are turning to soybeans,” 3Dprint.com stated. “The soybean is adaptable and can be used to feed humans and animals to develop products for everyday use.”

With veganism rising around the globe, soy products are in high demand; a report from December predicted the market value to hit $5.8 billion in the next five years. The reason, the report stated, is that people are on the search for healthy, vegan alternatives to animal sources of protein.

The vegan and vegetarian meat market is also booming, set to hit a value of $6.43 billion by 2023. Tofu and tempeh-based products, both created using soy, are leading the way, according to the report from Research and Markets released in March. This rise in popularity, again, has been put down largely to health concerns.

“Tempeh offers health benefits such as high antibody count, reduction in sugar levels in the body, muscle building, reduced risk of diabetes, and lower cholesterol levels in the body,” the report states.