Lab Notes: Laser Sandwiches and Fun Food Fails

September 10, 2018

Laser Experimentation

Disclaimer: several bananas were severely harmed in the making of this blog post.

Goggles, check! Gloves, on! Lab coat, donned! An attitude for adventure is the only other prep needed for laser experimentation in the studio.

Personalization is crazy-popular right now in retail stores, and grocers and food purveyors aren’t any different. We’re seeing lots of requests for food engraving, and there’s little the studio team likes more than laser-vaporizing bananas. Well, actually, they like laser-vaporizing lots of things, but today’s blog post is about our adventures in lasering food!

Surprising Successes

Generally, foods that have a high sugar content such as cookies and candy work great. It takes some experimenting to master settings that don’t melt — or incinerate — a marshmellow or cookie. It’s a difficult job that requires tasting tons of sweet deliciousness, but someone’s gotta do it.

Our success criteria was simple: it had to look good and taste even better. First, the easy stuff: watermelon and other fruit with a heavy rind means we can laser without worrying about taste. We were surprised to discover that slices of pineapple and similar fleshy, sugary fruit worked well too. The fruit caramelized under the laser, similar to a creme brulee, producing a toasted-sugar taste and glossy look. Breads and buns for custom laser sandwiches worked well too.

Fun Fails

There are way more items that missed the cut for any number of reasons. Crackers looked phenomenal, but tasted awful. We were excited to try engraving ring pops but despite the precision of the laser they melted a little too much to be impressive. Bananas looked amazing, but within minutes of being engraved blurry bruising took hold. 

Making it Work

Failing is part of the game, and success is usually just a matter of putting in the hours to find the precise laser speed, power, and workflow to get the desired effect. Seaweed was especially difficult — the results were beyond beautiful from the first test, but it took all day to find settings that didn’t leave a burned taste on the lasered edges. The result was stunning.

Laser Cut Seaweed

Experimenting is everything over here, and we’ll keep sharing as we venture deeper into what our tools and trials produce :)

Interested in food engraving? Drop us a line and we’ll warm up the laser cutter and see what’s possible. We’re always up for the challenge of engraving something new — edible or otherwise —and are always excited to share the results. #LaserEverything