A team of students from the University of Nottingham has won the gold prize at Ecotrophelia UK with their spicy BBQ flavoured savoury snack. The ‘RICH Pickings’ team has developed ‘Pom Puffs’ – described as a tasty and nutritious snack made from extruded apple pomace, maize and packaged in a recyclable pouch. 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 sixth 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 5th June and the winner was announced on 6th June at Campden BRI's annual open day. The awards were introduced by the competition's Chief Judge and Head of Central Technical Operations at Sainsbury’s, Alec Kyriakides, and presented by Patrick Carter of Marks and Spencer (prize sponsor).
Lisa Williamson, a food science student at the University of Nottingham and captain of ‘RICH Pickings’, said, “Ecotrophelia has been a very positive experience for the team. We applied what we’ve learned in our studies, demonstrated our knowledge to the dragons and received great feedback as a result! We’re also grateful for the technical support that we’ve received along the way” The other team members added, “We’re overwhelmed to have won the competition. All the hard work done alongside our degree has finally paid off. Our teamwork and incredible belief in our product is what made it a success. It is also strongly aligned to the ‘RICH Pickings’ values - Reuse, Innovate, Community, Honesty”.
The ‘Supreme Sweets’ team from London Metropolitan University secured the silver prize and £1,000 with their ‘FabaMallow’ product - a luxury, vegan and eco-friendly marshmallow made from aquafaba and apples and coated in dark chocolate. The bronze prize and £500 was awarded to a team from the University of West London with their Fava Bomb – a vegan fava bean ‘falafel-style’ savoury balls with a soft dip centre and a crunchy fava bean crust. 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 Marks and Spencer, Coca-Cola, Unilever, PepsiCo, Mondelez, Sainsbury’s, Warburtons, Tesco, Food Manufacture, Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) and Campden BRI. Additional sponsorship was also provided by Food Matters LIVE.
Bertrand Emond, Head of Membership and Training 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 300 students from 16 different universities across the UK have now taken part since 2013 and we are very grateful for the continued support that 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”.
The University of Nottingham team will go on to compete against 19 other national teams from across Europe for the chance to win up to €6,000 at the Ecotrophelia European final, which will be held at SIAL in Paris on 21st and 22nd October 2018.
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 independent qualifying body for food professionals in Europe.