The Easy Way To Prevent Your Burrito From Becoming A Mess

If you've ever made a burrito before, you know the shells can be pretty massive — most range from 10-12 inches in diameter. When you consider the size, it's easy to wonder about all the ingredient possibilities and combinations. Just how many ingredients can be packed into one burrito

A breakfast burrito can include eggs, bacon, sausage, avocado, tomatoes, spinach, potatoes, cheese, and onions. For lunch, you can fill the shell with carne asada, sour cream, cilantro, salsa, beans, rice, guacamole, or whatever else piques your interest. The ingredient combinations are virtually infinite — but, the longer the ingredient list, the greater the chances are of making a mess, either during the assembly or eating process. (Or, let's be real, both.)

Just think about it. Have you ever unwrapped a massive burrito, taken the first bite, and had some of the contents fall out, leaving you with a big mess? Or have you ever seen it happen to someone else? Even if you're a burrito-making extraordinaire who's mastered the art of assembly, the cooks at Freebirds or Chipotle may not be — hence the aforementioned mess. Well, thanks to an invention from a group of college engineering students, no one needs to be a burrito-making extraordinaire to keep your burrito intact. This burrito-related innovation? Edible tape.

A burrito fail inspired a groundbreaking invention for a group of seniors

CNN Travel reported in May 2022 about an edible tape called Tastee Tape, an adhesive that in many ways isn't much different from the non-edible tape you'd use to wrap a gift. A senior at Johns Hopkins University came up with the idea after her burrito kept falling apart while eating it. Coincidentally, she was required to invent a product for her design course, so she and three classmates set out to solve her messy burrito crisis (and ultimately ours).

The team started experimenting with different ingredients for the tape in an effort to find a substance that was both safe to eat and adhesive, according to USA Today. After months of research and testing dozens of formulations, they found the perfect recipe for their Tastee Tape and presented it at their university's Design Day (via Newsweek). 

Generally speaking, the tape works exactly how you'd expect it to: When applied to the tortilla, it keeps the burrito together as you eat it. Because a patent for the edible tape is still pending as of this report, the ingredients used in it have not been disclosed publicly yet. However, the adhesive is described on the Tastee Tape website as being a "fibrous edible scaffold with an organic adhesive." We also know that it's gluten-free and vegan-friendly (via CNN Travel).

How the edible tape works

Unlike traditional adhesive tape that consists of one long strip and a cut blade, Tastee Tape currently comes in pre-cut strips, but the packaging may change, according to CNN Travel. Each strip measures ½ an inch wide and 2 inches long. The tape comes adhered to wax paper and must be peeled off for use, similar to self-adhesive stamps. And comparable to the old school "lickable" stamps, moisture is required to activate the adhesiveness (via USA Today). That doesn't necessarily mean you have to lick them, though. Instead, you can just dab a few drops of water on the strips after you peel them off the wax paper.

What's nice about this transparent tape is that it can be used for other foods that are known to fall apart during assembly or eating, including tacos and gyros, as Newsweek noted. What's unclear, though — no pun intended — is if the tape can be applied to foods before frying them, like flautas. Either way, the strips are intended to create a less messy, more pleasant burrito-eating experience for everyone.