BALTIMORE — Tired of your burritos or wraps falling apart as you try and bite into them? Messy meals could be a thing of the past thanks to a new edible food tape designed by students at Johns Hopkins University.
Inspired by their own experiences with sloppy lunches, the young engineering students — all women — have created “Tastee Tape,” an edible adhesive. It comprises of “a food-grade fibrous scaffold and an organic adhesive” that ensures the ingredients in your favorite wrap are kept tucked tightly inside during cooking and consumption.
Tastee Tape can be applied to any food, including tortillas, tacos and gyros.
“First, we learned about the science around tape and different adhesives, and then we worked to find edible counterparts,” explains Tyler Guarino, who teamed up with fellow engineering seniors Marie Eric, Rachel Nie, and Erin Walsh on the project. The team of chemical and biomolecular engineering students at Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering tested a “multitude” of ingredients and combinations before settling on a final recipe, which is edible, safe, and has the tensile strength you can trust to hold together a fat burrito.
Because they are applying for a patent, the team members declined to disclose their secret formula. “What I can say is that all its ingredients are safe to consume, are food grade, and are common food and dietary additives,” adds Guarino.
Months spent prototyping resulted in rectangular strips measuring half an inch by two inches. These come affixed to sheets of waxed paper. To use, simply remove a Tastee Tape strip from the sheet, wet thoroughly to activate, and apply to your lunch, dinner, or favorite snack.
The students put their invention to the test on “too many burritos to count,” but are confident in the quality of their product. “Tastee Tape allows you to put full faith in your tortilla, and enjoy your meal, mess-free,” says Guarino.
The innovation was showcased at the school’s Design Day. It includes innovations from more than 400 students across all nine of the Engineering school’s academic departments, as well as its Center for Leadership Education. After two years in a virtual format necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was able to be held in person on campus.
“Design Day is an exciting landmark in our students’ journeys from studying engineering in the classroom and laboratory to becoming practicing engineers heading out to make a lasting and positive impact on our world,” says Ed Schlesinger, dean of the Whiting School.
One of the hallmarks of Design Day is the opportunity it gives students to work closely with faculty members and clinical researchers from across Johns Hopkins institutions, as well as with industry and other sponsors from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
South West News Service writer Dean Murray contributed to this report.