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A team of students from the University of Nottingham, team name The Green Feathers, has won the gold prize at Ecotrophelia UK with their 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, “We are honoured to be awarded gold in the UK finals, 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. 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 their 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, "We are delighted that we are continuing to attract and inspire the best food science and technology students to take part in Ecotrophelia. It’s a fantastic way for them to get exposure to some of the industry’s biggest players and potential future employers. Around 500 students from 22 different universities across the UK have now taken part since 2013 and we are very grateful for the continued support that the competition receives from the industry sponsors. 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 mentioned; “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, commented: “Product Reviews where a multidisciplined team presents plans for a new product to a panel are part of most Food Professionals working life, certainly have been for me. This competition has taken me back, you would present a product idea, and it would be either thrown out or given the green light! Just as in real life, the products that are thrown out are seldom poor ideas; they are just not as strong as the ones that are progressing. This was the case in the competition this year.
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 the 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.
Read more about the teams' products and the history of the competition below: