The growing trend for plant-based diets has inspired the teams that have entered this year’s student food innovation competition – Ecotrophelia UK. All five of the shortlisted products are meat-free and four are also vegan.
Now in its sixth year, Ecotrophelia challenges teams of UK students to develop an 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. Bertrand Emond, Head of Membership and Training at Campden BRI said, "It’s fantastic to see so many young people engage with this competition and put forward such innovative products. Around 300 students from 16 different universities across the UK have now taken part since 2013. Last year’s winning team went on to win silver prize in the European final with their vegan sushi made from cauliflower rice and fresh vegetables; building on the bronze prize the previous year, so we have high hopes for the teams again this year. We are also delighted by the interest shown and support provided by the industry" After much deliberation, a panel of new product development experts has selected the five finalist teams’ products:
+ Fava Bomb: Fava bean ‘falafel-style’ savoury balls with a soft dip centre and a crunchy fava bean crust. They are a vegan on-the-go snack and perfect for a nutritious taste explosion! - University of West London
+ Vegan Pizza with a Seaweed Base: A healthy, allergen free pizza with a seaweed base, topped with tomato sauce, roasted red pepper, chestnut mushrooms, courgette, red onion, black olives and vegan cheese - Cardiff Metropolitan University
+ OAT-YOG Cacao, Cherry and Almond: A vegan, oat-based, vanilla yoghurt alternative, with a ‘supergrain’ cluster topping containing recycled oats, puffed quinoa and sorghum wheat. The clusters contain cacao, cherry and almond - University of Reading
+ Pom Puffs: Spicy BBQ flavoured apple pomace and corn puffs - University of Nottingham
+ FabaMallow: A luxury, vegan and eco-friendly marshmallow, made from aquafaba and apples, coated in dark chocolate - London Metropolitan University
The finalists will pitch their products to the dragons on 5th June and the winner will be announced on 6th June at Campden BRI Day.
The ‘dragons’ are senior food experts from across industry including Marks and Spencer (prize sponsor), Coca-Cola, Unilever, PepsiCo, Mondelez, Sainsbury’s, Warburtons, Tesco, Food Manufacture, Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) and Campden BRI. Additional sponsorship is provided by food matters LIVE.
This year's entries included teams from CAFRE, Cardiff Metropolitan University, University of Reading, London Metropolitan University, University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, University of Leeds and Sheffield Hallam University and University of West London.
The winner will go on to represent the UK and compete against 19 other European national teams at the Ecotrophelia European final at SIAL in Paris on 21st and 22nd October 2018.
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.