(USA)

Everyone has heard of flat pack furniture but how about flat pack food?

It could now be on the menu thanks to innovative research carried out by MIT’s Tangible Media Group. The team at MIT has concocted a recipe for shape shifting food, flat sheets of gelatine and starch that transform into pasta, noodles and other three dimensional shapes when placed in water.

The scientists 3D print cellulose on to the sheets to provide the desired shape. It is a breakthrough that could help reduce food-shipping costs, as lots of sheets could be layered on top of each other.

“We did some simple calculations, such as for macaroni pasta, and even if you pack it perfectly, you still will end up with 67 percent of the volume as air,” says Wen Wang, a co-author on the paper and a former graduate student and research scientist in MIT’s Media Lab. “We thought maybe in the future our shape-changing food could be packed flat and save space.”