UK’s first bid in Dragons’ Den style food contest

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Innovation is essential for the industry to grow
Innovation is essential for the industry to grow
The UK is taking part in its first pan-European food innovation competition to promote new developments, creativity and sustainability to students pursuing a career in the food sector.

The  ‘Dragons’ Den-style’ competition Ecotrophelia Europe which is backed by the European Commission and global brands such as The Coca-Cola Company and Nestlé, will challenge students to develop innovative, eco-friendly food products, to win a share of a prize pot of up to 15,000.

The annual competition has been run since 2000 with 12 participating countries including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia. 2013 will mark the first time that the UK has taken part in the contest, which not only attracts talented students from the food sector but also serves as an incubator for novel ideas for the food industry as a whole.


The UK heat of the competition is being organised jointly by Campden BRI and the Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST) and is open to teams of students from UK universities. Shortlisted students will be invited to pitch on June 5 to the  ‘dragons’: a distinguished judging panel of top food industry specialists, which will include representatives from PepsiCo, Sainsbury, Warburtons, Coca-Cola, Genius and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for a share of a prize fund worth over £3,500.

The winning student team will be announced the following day (June 6) at the annual Campden BRI Day. The successful students will then go forward as the UK entry to the European leg of the competition to compete with 20 other participating countries.

4.3M jobs

“The food and drink manufacturing sector is one of the largest industries in Europe, with more than 1 trillion turnover accounting for over 4.3M jobs,” said Bertrand Emond, head of membership and training at Campden BRI. “Innovation and creativity is essential if the food industry is to continue to grow and meet the demands of consumers now and into the future. We need a steady influx of creative, intelligent, gifted students who are committed to working in food science, research and new product innovation.”

Emond added: “That is what Ecotrophelia Europe is all about encouraging young, ambitious individuals in higher education to gain useful and practical 'real-life' experience of bringing a new food product to market and get a taste of what is required for a successful career in this dynamic sector.”

Jon Poole, chief executive of the IFST, said: “Ecotrophelia​ provides an excellent opportunity for students to showcase their talent and bring their own studies to life through this very practical competition.”

The closing date for UK entries is Friday, March 22 2013.

Meanwhile, has teamed up with IFST to launch a free food science and technology webinar to take place on Thursday January 24. Expert speakers from the Food Standards Agency, Which? and Leatherhead Food Research will help to move the debate about controversial food science and technology topics, such as genetic modification, onto a more scientific footing. Click here​ to book your free place.

Related topics: NPD

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