Plant-Up, the finalist team from University of West London, won the Silver award for proposing a range of plant-based pastas. The Eco-Dive team – also from University of Nottingham – won the Bronze award for its Coco-Waffle concept, a Dutch-inspired waffle sandwich with a coconut caramel filling. The results were revealed on the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) website on 10 June.
“Our team was five people from the University of Nottingham in our final year studying food nutrition and food science,” explains Re-Dessert’s Wilkins in this exclusive Food Man Talks podcast.
‘Delights’, the product concept they entered in the contest, was based on the traditional Indian dessert gulab jamun, a sweet fried moist doughball soaked in a cardamom sugar syrup, she says.
The novel twist to the product was that it would be produced using surplus bread sourced from UK bakeries. “Shockingly more than 900,000t of bread is wasted annually in the UK,” says Wilkins.
Fusion with traditional UK desserts
Although their initial inspiration came from gulab jamun, the team built on this with several flavour variants, reflecting a fusion with traditional UK desserts.
“The inspiration of our first flavour variants came from the popular traditional British desserts jam roly-poly, sticky toffee, and lemon drizzle. With the addition of associated flavour inclusions and flavoured syrups to these products, we thought we created a taste sensation.”
Teams from learning providers across the UK enter Ecotrophelia UK, which is now in its eighth year and is jointly organised by Campden BRI in conjunction with the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST). After an initial screening process, a shortlist of finalists is drawn up. These teams must prepare a dossier and present their idea to a Dragons’ Den-style judging panel. Prizes are offered to teams coming first, second and third.
Judging took place remotely because of current COVID-19 guidelines on 2 June, with the winners announced today (10 June). The ‘dragons’ are senior food experts from across industry including PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Food Manufacture, Marks & Spencer, Mondelēz, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Unilever, Warburtons, Nestlé, IFST and Campden BRI.
View this video podcast to hear Wilkins discuss the values Re-Dessert based its work on, how she compares the product to potential competitors, and what the team learned from working together. Tune into our video podcast with Tim Holmes, head of quality at Diageo and chairman of judges for Ecotrophelia UK this year to hear his thoughts on the contest and look out for Food Man Talks interviews with all the finalist teams over the next few days.
This year’s shortlisted teams
This year's Ecotrophelia UK entries also included teams from University of Reading, University of West London, University of Liverpool, Leeds University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Liverpool Hope University.
As Ecotrophelia UK Gold winner, Re-Dessert claims £2,000, a year’s free IFST membership and an invitation to become an IFST ambassador. They will go on to represent the UK in the European finals of the competition, which this year will be held at trade show Sial in Paris. They also get one day to be spent with one or several dragons, who will mentor and support the team in preparation for the finals.
The Silver team gets £1,000 and a year’s free IFST membership and the Bronze team gets £500 and a year’s free IFST membership.
Entrants were required to address all aspects of the product development process, including production, ingredients, nutrition, food science and food safety, marketing, sales and commercial viability.