Flat-packed pasta could be a sustainable solution for a carb favorite

Pasta packaging can be very wasteful. Flat-packed pasta that changes shape in boiling water could be the solution.


June 8, 2021

Pasta is taking shape (Source: Ars Technica)

There are a few major problems with pasta.

  1. It’s incredibly delicious and very difficult to portion control
  2. The many shapes and sizes it comes in leads to wasteful packaging

While it will be difficult to make pasta less delicious, scientists at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have developed a way to address the 2nd issue:

Flat-packed pasta that changes shape in boiling water

How? According to Ars Technica, cooking time is influenced by the shape of the pasta. In a sheet of pasta, areas that are stamped with grooves take longer to cook than otherwise flat areas.

Based on this principle, the CMU researchers are able to create different shapes (e.g., cones, spirals) from flat sheets of pasta based on groove placement.

A perfectly packed box of macaroni…

… is still 67% air by volume, according to Ars Technica. With so many varied pasta shapes and sizes, the entire industry deals with wasteful packaging.

Inspired by the flat-packed design from the furniture industry — as popularized by Ikea — the CMU scientists hope to bring a more sustainable form of packaging, storage, and transportation to pasta.

We’re all for it, especially if you can make it just as delicious.

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