One of the giants in the chocolate industry, maybe THE giant in the chocolate industry, is looking to get into the 3D printing market.

3D Systems and The Hershey Company have struck multi-year agreement to explore and develop opportunities for using 3D printing to create confectionery treats.

Hershey is the largest producer of chocolate in North America and a global leader in chocolate, sweets and refreshments.

The alliance combines Hershey's world-class food science and manufacturing expertise with 3D Systems' powerful 3D printing technology and know-how to deliver new consumer experiences. "We believe that innovation is key to delivering relevant, compelling consumer experiences with our iconic brands," Hershey Vice President William Papa said. "Whether it's creating a whole new form of candy or developing a new way to produce it, we embrace new technologies such as 3D printing as a way to keep moving our timeless confectionery treats into the future."  

It's a combination of chocolate and technology that would make Willy Wonka and his weird, little, orange Oompa Loompa guys sing and dance.

"Mainstreaming 3D printing is fundamental to our success and we are fortunate to partner with Hershey, the largest producer of quality chocolate in North America and a global leader in chocolate and confection to expand the 3D printing experience into delectable edibles," 3D Systems Chief Technology Officer Chuck Hull said.

3D Systems is a leading provider of 3D printing centric design-to-manufacturing solutions including 3D printers, print materials and cloud sourced on-demand custom parts for professionals and consumers alike in materials including plastics, metals, ceramics and edibles. The company also provides integrated 3D scan-based design, freeform modeling and inspection tools.