Savoury fruit crackers win gold at student food innovation competition
Crack(er)ed it (University of Nottingham) presented fruit and oat-based artisan crackers made using excess fruit pomace from fruit vinegar production. Image: IFST
The Green Feathers, a team of students from the University of Nottingham, has won the gold prize at Ecotrophelia UK with Cracker(ed) it Crackers.
Each member of the gold-winning team took home a share of £2,000 and an invitation to become an IFST Young Ambassador.
Now in its tenth year, Ecotrophelia UK is a ‘Dragons Den’ style competition that challenges teams of UK students to develop an innovative, eco-friendly food and drink product.
From idea generation through to the final packaged product, the teams get a hands-on experience of what it takes to bring an eco-friendly food or drink product to market.
The finalists pitched their products on 7 June 2022. The awards were introduced by the competition’s chief judge and chair of the IFST Science Committee, Chris Gilbert-Wood, and presented by James Williams of PepsiCo (which also sponsored the prizes).
Laura Hill, a food science student at the University of Nottingham and captain of Team Green Feathers said the team is honoured to be awarded gold in the UK finals, where every team in the final had “fantastic products and exceptional standards”.
“It was wonderful to have the opportunity to go to Tesco to present our crackers and meet the dragons and other finalists in person,” Hill said. “We are so excited for Paris; we can’t wait to meet all the teams and find out about their products and present our crackers!”
The ‘Fortifiber’ team from Manchester Metropolitan University secured the silver prize and £1,000 with their product ‘FiBAR’. The bronze prize and £500 was awarded to team ‘Avena Grains’ from Nottingham Trent University with their product ‘Granola Infusions Superberry’. All three prize winning teams will also receive a one-year IFST membership.
The teams pitched its ideas to judges from top names in the food and drink industry including PepsiCo, Nestlé, Food Manufacture, Coca Cola, Sainsbury’s, Unilever, Mondelez, Warburtons, Tesco, Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) and Campden BRI.
Bertrand Emond, membership ambassador, professional development and culture excellence lead at Campden BRI said: “Innovation and creativity is essential for the continued success of the food industry and Ecotrophelia helps to achieve this; this year was particularly special as it was our 10th anniversary and we were very grateful to Tesco for hosting the live final and celebrations at their iconic Heart Building and for providing three inspiring speakers”.
The University of Nottingham team will go on to compete against 20 other national teams from across Europe for the chance to win up to €6,000 at the Ecotrophelia European final, which will take place during SIAL in Paris, France in October 2022.
Jon Poole, chief executive of IFST said: “It was a particular pleasure to be hosting this Ecotrophelia UK final this year – it was the first opportunity to be face-to-face again and, on top of that, we were celebrating ten years of the competition in the UK. Well done to all the teams on excellent submissions and presentations.”
Chris Gilbert-Wood, chair of IFST’s Scientific Committee, and judge on the Ecotrophelia panel, said of the competition: “Ecotrophelia is an excellent opportunity for young future professionals to enjoy a real pitch experience. The professionalism and enthusiasm the teams have shown us today make me look forward with confidence to see how they tackle the challenges and exploit the opportunities the food system faces now and in the future.”
The UK heat of this Europe-wide competition was organised by UK food and drink research organisation, Campden BRI, in conjunction with the Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST), the UK’s leading professional body for those involved in all aspects of food science and technology.