Johns Hopkins students developed edible ‘burrito tape’ for mess-free consumption.

Johns Hopkins students

As part of Engineering Design Day at Johns Hopkins University, a group of students created a unique solution for one of dining’s greatest frustrations: the burrito or wrap that keeps falling apart. i.e., Tastee Tape, a clear adhesive meant to keep burritos, wraps and similar food intact.

It’s one of life’s most deliciously anticipating moments, but also one of the messiest: When the beans, rice, guacamole, and salsa fall from the tortilla onto the table, or worse, your lap, the burrito (or taco, or gyro, or wrap) is almost in your mouth.

Inspired by their own messy lunches, a group of chemical and biomolecular engineering students designed Tastee Tape, an edible adhesive made up of a food-grade fibrous scaffold and an organic adhesive that keeps the ingredients in your favourite wrap tucked tightly inside during cooking and consumption.

Tyler Guarino, a Johns Hopkins senior majoring in engineering who worked on the project with fellow engineering seniors Marie Eric, Rachel Nie, and Erin Walsh, stated, “First, we learned about the science surrounding the tape and different adhesives, and then we worked to find edible alternatives.”

Tastee Tape is clear but dyed in blue to show how it is applied. | John Hopkins University

Before reaching a final recipe that is edible, safe, and has the tensile strength to keep together a big burrito, the team evaluated a wide range of ingredients and combinations. Team members declined to reveal their secret formula since they are applying for a patent. But all of its ingredients are GRAS (generally recognized as safe) certified, food-grade, and common food and dietary additives.

Tastee Tape Production
  1. Heating materials to produce polymerization and crosslinking of polymers is required
  2. After that, the product is heated again to dry it out before it is packaged. When heating the ingredients, avoid touching the metal pan or the heat source.
  3. Also, it is crucial to keep flammable materials away from the heat source.
  4. Since the hot, viscous liquids can cause serious burns, suitable personal safety equipment should be worn during processing.
Steps to use Tastee Tape

After several months of testing, prototypes resulted in rectangular strips measuring 1/2 an inch by 2 inches. These are attached to waxed paper sheets. To use the clear tape, which the students dyed blue for demonstration purposes, simply needs to be separated from the wax paper and thoroughly wet to activate before being adhered to the food.

Cost of making Tastee Tape
  • Each strip costs $0.01 in materials.
  • A pack of 50 pieces costs $0.50 in materials.
  • They recommend selling each pack for $5.
  • Each piece profits $0.09, resulting in a 900% profit.
  • Each pack of tape profits $4.50, resulting in a 900% profit.
  • Note that these costs are only for materials and do not include production and packaging.
Future Directions

Tastee Tape can expand its line by creating double-sided tape in order to broaden its uses. Tastee Tape is also interested in developing flavoured tape to add extra zest to your food. The team members have tested their innovation on “too many burritos to count,” but they are assured of its quality. Tastee Tape allows you to trust your tortilla completely and enjoy your meal without making a mess.

Read our latest article on: National Program for Organic Production (NPOP)

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