A team of chemical and biomolecular engineering students at Johns Hopkins University has developed an edible tape to make burritos and other wrapped sandwiches easier to eat.
In a product design course, senior students Tyler Guarino, Rachel Nie, Marie Eric, and Erin Walsh were tasked with creating an invention that would be useful for everyday life. Inspired by their own experiences with messy lunches, the all-female group decided to address one of life’s most frustrating problems: preventing a burrito from falling apart.
In an interview with TODAY, Nie revealed that it was Walsh who first suggested making an edible adhesive for burritos and other wraps.
“It was our favorite because we thought it was so simple, yet so relatable. And we thought that it was also feasible,” Guarino explained why they decided to work on an edible tape.
The making of edible tape
Burrito fillings: secured
Let’s taco’bout Tastee Tape, an edible adhesive created by biomolecular and chemical engineering students which allows for a mess-free meal for wraps, gyros, and more. (2/6) pic.twitter.com/HB1o6VBHVB
— Johns Hopkins University (@JohnsHopkins) May 10, 2022
After settling on an idea, the group studied the different components that make up a real tape and started to find edible counterparts.
“We tried tons of different combinations, and formulations and really did a lot of trial and error until we were able to get a product that was clear in color, tasteless, didn’t have a noticeable texture but was still strong enough to hold a big fat burrito together,” said Guarino.
Nie admitted that a couple of their first prototypes had “some really strange textures and tastes.” But for the most recent version of the product, she said that they wanted to make sure that wrap lovers “could barely feel it or taste it.”
Guarino came up with the name Tastee Tape for their invention.
What’s in a Tastee Tape?
Tastee Tape is comprised of a food-grade fibrous scaffold and an organic adhesive that ensures the ingredients in a wrap are kept tucked tightly inside during cooking and consumption.
Members of the team are understandably vague when speaking about the ingredients of the tape, as they are currently working with Johns Hopkins University to secure a patent for their invention.
“[But] what I can say is that all its ingredients are safe to consume, are food grade, and are common food and dietary additives,” Guarino told Johns Hopkins University Hub.
How to use Tastee Tape
After months of prototyping, the latest version of Tastee Tape is packaged in two-inch by half-inch rectangles on wax paper sheets. “You simply just peel the piece off of the sheet,” Guarino said. “You wet it to activate it, and then you apply it to your tortilla.”
What’s next for Tastee Tape?
After the team presented their invention at the university’s annual engineering showcase, Design Day, earlier this month, Guarino shared that they are “going to continue to work on it, refine the formula and … try and get it out there.”
Tastee Tape was recently featured in an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
— Johns Hopkins University (@JohnsHopkins) May 18, 2022