Reduced packaging: These pastes take shape in water.

Reduced packaging: These pastes take shape in water.

sustainable development

This pasta takes shape in boiling water.

Developed by American researchers, these noodles transform into 3D when cooked. An innovation that can significantly reduce packaging.


Lauren Kevin Hostettler


The stripes give shape to these flattened pastes, which require less packaging than 3D pastes.

Morphing Matter Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University

Why not take inspiration from how flat-pack furniture is packaged to save on packaging cardboard and reduce your carbon footprint when transporting food? Indeed, bulky pastas such as farfalle and fusilli require more packaging than thinner varieties such as spaghetti or angel hair pasta. “Food packaging is one of the largest sources of waste in the world,” said study lead author Laining Yao, director of the Morphing Matter Lab at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. So the researchers created pasta that is flat when dry and takes shape when cooked.

60% less packing space

“Almost all products change during the cooking process. For example, pasta expands and softens when cooked due to water diffusion and starch gelatinization,” the researchers write in the journal Science Advances. The team’s work has shown that food morphing, which involves converting 2D structures into 3D shapes, is a solution to reduce packaging. For example, for pasta, 60% of the packaging space is filled with air.

So food morphing works great with Italian pasta made with semolina flour and water. The dough is covered with grooves, the depth and distance between which determine the shape of the pasta when cooked. These combs are easily produced by low-cost manufacturing methods such as stamping or casting.

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