In my Relish Austin print column today, I offer a preview of the food programming at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive and focus on one of the themes: 3-D food printing, which has not one but two panels at this year’s conference.

With at least two at-home food printers coming on the market in 2014, we’ve been hearing a lot about 3-D printed food in the past year, but each time I read an article proposing that 3-D food printing will be the Next Big Thingin the kitchen, I can’t help but roll my eyes.

Unlike the replicator in "Star Trek," 3-D printers don’t just create food out of thin air. They require some kind of liquified or powdered substance that the machine they "prints" by layering the ingredients into a very specific shape.

Kinda cool, right?

Yes, you can make some really neat stuff with food printers, like interlocking chocolate rings that Levi Lalla of Austin’s piq Chocolates shows off in the video above, but even Lalla says that the practical applications of 3-D food printing are limited. For the foreseeable future, 3-D printed food takes much more time and money to make than traditional food manufacturing or just regular old cooking.

The way Lalla sees it, 3-D food printing makes sense when you want to make a very specific shape that can’t be made in a mold or if you want to put a specific flavor in a specific place.

That’s a lot of specificity for something that you’re going to pop in your mouth and chew.

What do you think about the future of 3-D printed food? Would you ever buy one for your kitchen?