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Chipotle Is Testing Out Delivery by Drone

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In Virginia, burritos are taking to the skies. Tech Crunch reports that Chipotle and Alphabet are teaming up to deliver burritos by drone to hungry students at Virginia Tech. If the test program is successful, airborne burrito deliveries could one day become the norm.

Alphabet’s drone team, Project Wing, is running the experimental program on the campus of Virginia Tech starting next week and will recruit students and faculty to participate by ordering burritos from a set delivery area. Chipotle will prep food from a truck on campus, then load their tasty cargo onto Project Wing’s drones.

Since the U.S. has strict regulations on where it is appropriate to fly an unmanned aerial system (UAS), the entire test will occur on a closed test site. That means students won’t be ordering burritos from their dorm rooms, or watching drones deposit burritos on their classmates’ desks during lectures. However, the project may help Alphabet and Chipotle take major steps towards making drone food deliveries a reality, allowing Alphabet to work out the kinks of UAS delivery in a safe environment, and giving Chipotle a chance to figure out the best way to transport their foodstuffs.

An Alphabet spokesperson told Tech Crunch, “We’re increasingly optimistic about the potential for UAS to open up entirely new approaches to the transportation of and delivery of goods, including options that are cheaper, faster, less wasteful and more environmentally sensitive than what’s possible today with ground transportation.”

[h/t Tech Crunch]

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Food
Thanks to a Wet Winter, New Zealand Faces a Potential Potato Chip Shortage
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New Zealand has plenty of unique and tasty snacks, but kiwis also love potato chips. The universal comfort food is in danger Down Under, however, as an unusually wet winter has devastated the island country’s tuber crops, according to BBC News.

Twenty percent of New Zealand’s annual potato crop was wiped out from a series of major storms and floods that ravaged the nation’s North and South Islands, The Guardian reports. In some regions, up to 30 percent of potato crops were affected, with the varieties used to make chips bearing the brunt of the damage.

Potato prices spiked as farmers struggled, but the crisis—now dubbed “chipocalypse” by media outlets—didn't really make the mainstream news until supermarket chain Pak’nSave posted announcements in potato chip aisles that warned customers of a salty snack shortage until the New Year.

Pak’nSave has since rescinded this explanation, claiming instead that they made an ordering error. However, other supermarket chains say they’re working directly with potato chip suppliers to avoid any potential shortfalls, and are aware that supplies might be limited for the foreseeable future.

New Zealand’s potato farming crisis extends far beyond the snack bars at rugby matches and vending machines. Last year’s potato crops either rotted or remained un-harvested, and the ground is still too wet to plant new ones. This hurts New Zealand’s economy: The nation is the world’s ninth-largest exporter of potatoes.

Plus, potatoes “are a food staple, and this is becoming a food security issue as the effects of climate change take their toll on our potato crop,” says Chris Claridge, the chief executive of industry group Potatoes New Zealand, according to The Guardian.

In the meantime, New Zealanders are preparing to hunker down for a few long months of potential potato peril—and according to some social media users, kale chips are not a suitable alternative. “Chipocalypse” indeed.

[h/t BBC News]

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50 Sweet Facts About Your Favorite Halloween Candies
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It’s no surprise that candy delights kids and adults alike. We love sweets so much that the average American eats about 22 pounds of candy each year. Whether you’re looking to impress your friends or simply brush up on your candy trivia, check out these 50 sweet facts about your favorite candies.

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