Agar-agar is made from algae and, when processed, is a vegetarian alternative to gelatin. It’s technically fine to eat, and some desserts require it. But why is agar-agar in all kinds of frozen meals that wouldn’t call for the stuff in a home-cooked recipe? Simple: It’s a thickening agent that’s cheaper and less perishable than cream or anything else you might normally use.
Studio@Gizmodo partnered with the comedy video team that made Chad Vader to show us a little more about agar-agar, and how freaky it is. Watch this video to see what happens when people try to eat it in its raw, powdered form. And don’t try this at home. (Don’t worry, you won’t want to.)
Tony Carnevale is a senior writer for Studio@Gizmodo.