A team of students from the University of Nottingham has won the gold prize at Ecotrophelia UK for its Indian-inspired ‘Gulab Jamun’-sweets.
Team Re-Dessert took home a share of the £2,000 top prize sponsored by PepsiCo for its reinvention of Gulab Jamun, a syrup infused fried sponge-like doughball. Its recipe incorporated surplus bread, along with new flavour variations such as jam roly-poly.
Team Re-Dessert said: “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be the winners of the UK Ecotrophelia Final 2020. Due to Covid-19, the competition was virtual this year and so we had the added challenge of finding a way to convey our delicious product. Many Zoom calls later, we believe we achieved this.
“We are very excited to compete in the European finals later this year, allowing us to share our passion for our product and to develop our ideas further. It will also be a great opportunity to see what exciting and innovative products other groups have been creating.”
Now in its eighth year, Ecotrophelia UK challenges teams of UK students to develop innovative, eco-friendly food and drink products. From idea generation through to the final packaged product, the teams get hands-on experience of what it takes to bring an eco-friendly food or drink product to market.
“The food and drink industry is particularly dynamic and continues to present challenges, particularly those related to innovation and sustainability. To ensure the industry continues to grow and meet these challenges both now and, in the future, it is essential to attract creative, intelligent, gifted students.”
The teams pitched their ideas to judges from leading names in the food and drink industry who also sponsor the competition including PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Food Manufacture, Marks & Spencer, Mondelez, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Unilever, Warburtons, Nestle Research and Development, Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) and Campden BRI.
Team PLANT UP from the University of West London secured the silver prize and £1,000 for its vegetable pasta (one beetroot and one sweet potato) which are suitable for vegans, vegetarians and coeliacs. They are high in protein and prepared in under 10 minutes.
The bronze prize and £500 was awarded to the second team from University of Nottingham for its ‘CocoWaffle,’ a gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, Dutch-inspired waffle sandwich with a coconut caramel filling. The recipe uses the whole coconut, minimising food wastage.
All three prize-winning teams will also receive a one-year IFST membership.
Helen Munday, IFST president and chief scientific officer at the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) commented: “As always, Ecotrophelia has proven to be an excellent opportunity to develop and engage with the next generation of food scientists and technologists, bringing industry and our students together.
“The students were challenged to be innovative and environmentally conscious and demonstrate leadership through their product development and presentations. As the food sector adapts to the Covid-19 situation, the students also had to adapt by presenting on a virtual platform. All the teams did a brilliant job in modifying their pitches to the ‘dragons’, and as a judging panel, we learnt a lot from them. It was a highly engaging event for all involved and the standards demonstrated by all the teams were of the highest level.”
Bertrand Emond of Campden BRI, co-organiser of the Ecotrophelia UK competition and member of the European judging panel, said: “The food and drink industry is particularly dynamic and continues to present challenges, particularly those related to innovation and sustainability. To ensure the industry continues to grow and meet these challenges both now and, in the future, it is essential to attract creative, intelligent, gifted students.
“Ecotrophelia encourages the brightest students to consider a career in the food and drink sector and gives them a unique opportunity to participate in a ‘real-life’ food innovation and development process and gain key practical skills that you just cannot get from a textbook. As the world’s largest independent membership-based organisation carrying out research and development for the global food and drinks industry, we are committed to supporting young and emerging talent in the food and drink industry and are proud to support Ecotrophelia.”