Each year, TIME Magazine composes a list of 100 Best Inventions that have disrupted their categories or changed the way we live for the better. TIME’s Best 100 Inventions list spans multiple categories, including artificial intelligence, fitness, medical care and food and drink. Here are three of the top 100 inventions in the food and drink category that made this year’s list.
1. Sfoglini Cascatelli
While there are over 600 pasta shapes in existence, none were good enough for Dan Pashman, foodie and the host of The Sporkful podcast. Since he couldn’t find a pasta shape that held the perfect amount of sauce, stayed on the fork and had a satisfying bite, he invented his own shape and called it the Cascatelli pasta.
The invention, while relatively low-tech compared to the other that made it on TIME’s Best 100 Inventions list, took three years and several prototypes to perfect. Pashman landed on a short, ruffled noodle with a half tube shape. Manufactured by pasta company Sfoglini, it has sold nearly 300,000 pounds of Cascatelli since debuting in March.
Consumers eager to get their hands on Cascatelli are out of luck for the time being, as the pasta is sold out. When it is back in stock, a four pack (four pounds) sells for $19.96.
California-based startup SAVRPak earned a spot on the list for its invention that aims to eliminate food waste and prevent delivered foods from getting soggy. The company’s high-tech food packet, which resembles silica gel packets found in certain food and commercial products, can be placed inside delivery containers to wick away moisture and reduce humidity. But the startup isn’t stopping there.
In October, SAVRPak unveiled a new delivery packaging prototype that claims to keep food at a safe temperature for more than 20 minutes. No one enjoys cold food, but once it drops below 140 degrees F, bacteria can form on the surface.
Making it on TIME’s Best 100 Inventions list is one of many achievements and recognitions for SAVRPak. The company has garnered industry recognition, winning awards in four categories at last year’s World Food Innovation Awards, among other awards from Venture Madness and SKS North America. To learn more about the company, check out Xtalks profile on SAVRPak.
TIME’s Best 100 Inventions list would be incomplete without a plant-based innovation. The San Francisco-based food tech startup Kuleana made the list for its sushi-grade plant-based tuna made from algae, bamboo, koji, potato, radish and other vegan-friendly ingredients. The tuna alternative was praised for having comparable levels of iron, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 to traditional tuna.
Kuleana’s tuna is also free from harmful substances often found in fish flesh, such as mercury, microplastics and cholesterol. And, with mass adoption, it could also help alleviate the environmental damage caused by overfishing. Much like real tuna, the alternative can be eaten in ceviche, poke bowls and sushi.
The tuna is currently available at various Poké Bar locations nationwide, Blue Sushi Sake Grill restaurants in the Midwest and South, or Erewhon Markets on the West Coast. The company has plans to add a plant-based salmon to its lineup in the future.
This year’s Special Mentions list includes three other food companies:
- MeliBio, which makes use of synthetic biology and precision fermentation to make honey without the bees — check out Xtalks’ previous coverage on the company
- Upside Foods, a maker of cultured chicken
- InnerPlant, a startup that edits the DNA of plants to enable them to glow a certain color when the plant is under attack from pests or fungal infection or is stressed from lack of water