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iStock

Mayonnaise Cafes Are Now a Thing

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iStock

Love it or hate it, mayonnaise is everywhere—in sandwiches, salads, and even on French fries. But as Mashable reports, Japan is set to take the creamy condiment craze to new heights: Kewpie, the Japanese mayo brand, is launching two pop-up restaurants featuring mayonnaise-based menus.

Kewpie will open a “mayonnaise cafe” in Tokyo's Shibuya district for the entirety of March (fun fact: March 1 is “Mayonnaise Day” in Japan). The second pop-up will arrive in Nagoya, in central Honshu, on April 3, and remain open through April 30.

Calm your fears, mayo-phobes: neither establishment will sell big bowls of mayo with spoons on the side. Instead, they’ll use the condiment to marinate chicken, add extra flavor to omelets, and make a custard-like dessert. (There’s even mayo pizza!) Dishes will range in price from around $3.50 for a small dessert to about $14 for the chicken chop.

That said, Kewpie mayo isn't your grandma’s Hellmann’s, meaning these dishes will likely taste much different from what American eaters would expect. As Kotaku explains, the Asian condiment is made from egg yolks and apple or rice vinegar, which gives it a taste that's richer and sweeter than American mayonnaise, which is typically made from whole eggs, distilled vinegar, salt, and sugar.

This isn’t Kewpie's first foray into the restaurant industry: In March 2016, one of the brand’s pop-up cafes served dishes including Taro Miso Mayonnaise Gratin, fries with different-flavored mayos, and more.

[h/t Mashable]

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iStock
An Eco-Friendly Startup Is Converting Banana Peels Into Fabric for Clothes
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iStock

A new startup has found a unique way to tackle pollution while simultaneously supporting sustainable fashion. Circular Systems, a “clean-tech new materials company,” is transforming banana byproducts, pineapple leaves, sugarcane bark, and flax and hemp stalk into natural fabrics, according to Fast Company.

These five crops alone meet more than twice the global demand for fibers, and the conversion process provides farmers with an additional revenue stream, according to the company’s website. Fashion brands like H&M and Levi’s are already in talks with Circular Systems to incorporate some of these sustainable fibers into their clothes.

Additionally, Circular Systems recycles used clothing to make new fibers, and another technology called Orbital spins those textile scraps and crop byproducts together to create a durable type of yarn.

People eat about 100 billion bananas per year globally, resulting in 270 million tons of discarded peels. (Americans alone consume 3.2 billion pounds of bananas annually.) Although peels are biodegradable, they emit methane—a greenhouse gas—during decomposition. Crop burning, on the other hand, is even worse because it causes significant air pollution.

As Fast Company points out, using leaves and bark to create clothing may seem pretty groundbreaking, but 97 percent of the fibers used in clothes in 1960 were natural. Today, that figure is only 35 percent.

However, Circular Systems has joined a growing number of fashion brands and textile companies that are seeking out sustainable alternatives. Gucci has started incorporating a biodegradable material into some of its sunglasses, Bolt Threads invented a material made from mushroom filaments, and pineapple “leather” has been around for a couple of years now.

[h/t Fast Company]

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Apeel
New Plant-Based Coating Can Keep Your Avocados Fresh for Twice as Long
Apeel
Apeel

Thanks to a food technology startup called Apeel Sciences, eating fresh avocados will soon be a lot easier. The Bill Gates–backed company has developed a coating designed to keep avocados fresh for up to twice as long as traditional fruit, Bloomberg reports, and these long-lasting avocados will soon be available at 100 grocery stores across the Midwestern U.S. Thirty or so of the grocery stores involved in the limited rollout of the Apeel avocado will be Costcos, so feel free to buy in bulk.

Getting an avocado to a U.S. grocery store is more complicated than it sounds; the majority of avocados sold in the U.S. come from California or Mexico, making it tricky to get fruit to the Midwest or New England at just the right moment in an avocado’s life cycle.

Apeel’s coating is made of plant material—lipids and glycerolipids derived from peels, seeds, and pulp—that acts as an extra layer of protective peel on the fruit, keeping water in and oxygen out, and thus reducing spoilage. (Oxidation is the reason that your sliced avocados and apples brown after they’ve been exposed to the air for a while.) The tasteless coating comes in a powder that fruit producers mix with water and then dip their fruit into.

A side-by-side comparison of a coated and uncoated avocado after 30 days, with the uncoated avocado looking spoiled and the coated one looking fresh
Apeel

According to Apeel, coating a piece of produce in this way can keep it fresh for two to three times longer than normal without any sort of refrigeration or preservatives. This not only allows consumers a few more days to make use of their produce before it goes bad, reducing food waste, but can allow producers to ship their goods to farther-away markets without refrigeration.

Avocados are the first of Apeel's fruits to make it to market, but there are plans to debut other Apeel-coated produce varieties in the future. The company has tested its technology on apples, artichokes, mangoes, and several other fruits and vegetables.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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