The growing trend towards veganism has inspired the teams that have entered this year’s student food innovation competition – Ecotrophelia UK.
Now in its seventh year, the dragon den’s style competition challenges teams of UK students to develop innovative, eco-friendly food and drink products.
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 the all the entries tell us that the quality has gone up, and this year is no different, with another very impressive field. I can’t wait to try the products!”
After much deliberation, a panel of new product development experts has selected the five finalist teams’ products:
- Caruffle: A truffle made from carob and hazelnut, with a mixed fruit jelly centre and rolled in popped and ground quinoa – Nottingham Trent University
- Keesh: A vegan, gluten-free and reduced fat quiche-like product made of a sweet potato base packed with roasted vegetables in a chickpea flour filling – University of Reading
- Cubiies: Vegan, tooth friendly gummy sweets primarily made from vegetables aimed at 5–12 year olds. They are made of pureed by product produce, polyols, modified starch and natural flavourings – University of Nottingham
- Favalicious: An orange (pepper and tomato), pink (beetroot) and green (spinach and herb) ‘hummus style’ fava bean dip. It is served with fava bean and wheat-based breadstick, flavoured with beetroot, tomato and basil – University of Reading
- Venergy: Lemon and lime energy sweets providing endurance athletes with a vegan sustainable alternative to energy products, by tackling issues with ingredient and packaging sustainability – University of Reading
The finalists will pitch their products to the dragons on 11 June and the winner will be announced on 12 June at Campden BRI Day, 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, Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) and Campden BRI.
This year's entries included teams from Cambridge University, London Metropolitan University, Nottingham Trent University, University of Nottingham, University of Reading, University of West London.
Bertrand Emond, Head of Membership and Training at Campden BRI added: “The food industry faces fundamental challenges including reducing our environmental impact, meeting growing global demand for food, producing more from less as pressure increases on resources, and reformulating and creating new products to meet diet and health requirements. 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.”
Winners will go on to represent the UK at the European final which will take place during ANUGA in Cologne, Germany in October 2019.