Plastic, this fight this time. We are working harder and harder to reduce this. What if instead of changing the packaging, we changed the product? As an alternative, 2D foods are emerging that would reduce plastic. The innovation would convert 2D structures into 3D shapes. For example? Pasta. It could be stored flat, which takes up less space. It would return to its shape once it was boiled in boiling water.
Keep it simple
This new technique is based on simplification. By eliminating one dimension in the foods we consume, there are immediate benefits. Not only would it make transportation easier. It would simplify its manufacture, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.
Zhejiang University professor Ye Tao and his colleagues are pushing it forward. They published the article Morphing pasta and beyond in the magazine Advances in science. They suggest applying certain types of grooves on the surface of foods made from flour, such as pasta.
However, there was still no reliable design to precisely make certain shapes when needed. Ye tao and his colleagues performed simulations based on a polymer gel model. It was applied to an edible noodle model. And they could accurately predict the transformation in both materials.
Testing in the kitchen
They made an example with semolina flour and made Italian pasta. The noodles swelled when cooked in boiling water and took on three-dimensional shapes based on the position of the grooves. The specific parameters of these grooves defined the final shape. The distance between them, their width or depth determine their 3D result. They can easily be made by inexpensive manufacturing processes. For example punching, laser engraving or molding and casting.
2D foods that would reduce plastic are just around the corner. The question arises: are we going to get used to them? Does one kilo of macaroni fit in our pocket? Or buying a whole week in your backpack?
Wouldn’t that be great?