Eco-friendly desserts top the menu at student food innovation competition

Vegan and coeliac-friendly desserts have greatly inspired the teams that have entered this year’s student food innovation competition – Ecotrophelia UK.

Now in its eighth year, the dragons’ den style competition challenges teams of UK students to develop innovative, eco-friendly food and drink products.

Despite the challenges and obstacles that Covid-19 has created, the competition has been fierce this year, with more teams than ever competing for a place in the final and a slice of the £3,500 prize fund. A panel of product development experts carefully assessed the entries before picking the final five.

Andrew Gardner, operations director at IFST said: “We are delighted to see another exciting range of eco-innovative products and high-quality portfolios in this year’s UK final. Year-on-year our preliminary judges, who do a fantastic job sifting through all the entries, tell us that the quality has gone up, and this year is no different, with another very impressive field.”

After much deliberation, a panel of new product development experts has selected the five finalist teams’ products:

  • University of Reading: Betta Indulgence – Betta Banoffee ready to eat banana, caramel, cream and dark chocolate, oat pastry layered dessert tart.
  • Liverpool Hope University: Brewers Brownie – The Brewer’s Brownie is a vegan chocolate brownie that is fortified with brewer’s spent grain (BSG).
  • University of Nottingham: Eco-Dive – CocoWaffle is a gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, Dutch-inspired waffle sandwich with a coconut caramel filling.
  • University of West London: Plant Up – product range includes two types of vegetable pasta, 1 beetroot and 1 sweet potato. Suitable for vegans, vegetarians and coeliacs. High in protein and prepared in less than 10 minutes.
  • University of Nottingham: Re-Dessert – Inspired by the Indian dessert ‘Gulab Jamun’, a syrup infused fried sponge-like doughball, a reinvented recipe incorporates surplus bread, along with new flavour variations such as Jam Roly-poly.

The five finalists will pitch their products to the dragons on 2 June 2020 and the winner will be announced on 10 June 2020, during Campden BRI Week, a major annual event for the food and drink industry.

The ‘dragons’ are senior food experts from across industry including PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Food Manufacture, Marks & Spencer, Mondelez, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Unilever, Warburtons,  Nestle, Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) and Campden BRI.

This year’s entries included teams from University of Nottingham, University of Reading, University of West London, University of Liverpool, Leeds University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Liverpool Hope University.

Bertrand Emond, head of membership and training and Campden BRI added: “Using science and innovation effectively will be critical to survival and competitive advantage. We must support efforts to unlock, nurture and drive innovation in the industry that helps us to meet these challenges.”

Ecotrophelia is a fantastic platform and source of innovation and inspiration for the industry capitalising on the creativity and energy of our brightest and most enterprising food students supported by the best academic institutions.”

The winning team will go on to represent the UK at the European final which will take place during SIAL in Paris, France on 18-19 October 2020.

The UK heat of this Europe-wide competition is organised by UK food and drink research organisation, Campden BRI, in conjunction with the Institute of Food Science & Technology, the independent qualifying body for food professionals in Europe.

For more information, please visit www.ecotrophelia-uk.org and www.eu.ecotrophelia.org.

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