After much deliberation, a panel of product development experts selected the five finalist teams, which hail from UK universities, and their products:
• SeaFuel (University of Reading): plant-based high protein cracker crisps with a sweet chilli hit flecked with seaweed flakes;
• Econauts (University of Nottingham): a non-alcoholic Arabica coffee 'liqueur' with rich chocolatey notes, added botanicals and foaming ability;
• Re-Gen (London Metropolitan University): tasty and convenient cereal bars made from seasonal ingredients grown through agroforestry farming principles, including YQ Wheat, a diverse population of wheat developed by Martin Wolfe;
• Edam and Eve (University of Surrey): high-protein, mixed berry plant-based smoothies made from whole ingredients, packaged in edamame-derived cartons;
• DinoDips (University of Reading): A calcium- and vitamin D-fortified gluten-free vegan biscuit with a chocolate orange dipping sauce for children aged five to ten years with allergies and intolerances.
'Dragons Den' style setting
In a virtual 'Dragons Den' style setting, finalists pitched their products to the judges, or 'dragons'. The winner will be announced online on 14 July 2021.
The dragons are senior food experts from across the industry including PepsiCo, Unilever, Mondelez, CocaCola, Warburtons, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Food Manufacture, the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) and Campden BRI.
The Gold-winning team of Ecotrophelia UK 2020 was Re-Dessert from the University of Nottingham with a product based on the traditional Indian dessert gulab jamun.
Now in its ninth year, the dragon den’s style competition challenges teams of UK students to develop innovative, eco-friendly food and drink products.
£3,500 prize fund
Competition has been fierce this year, with teams competing for a place in the final and a slice of the £3,500 prize fund.
“This year’s Ecotrophelia UK final will see another unique range of eco-innovative products on display and under the scrutiny of the experienced judging panel," said IFST operations director Andrew Gardner.
"Our preliminary judges have once again told us how impressed they are with the eco-innovative products all the teams put forward, especially under the difficult circumstances of this year. I can’t wait to see what the five shortlisted finalists have created.”
'Food industry faces fundamental challenges'
Bertrand Emond, membership ambassador, professional development and culture excellence lead at Campden BRI, added: “The food industry faces fundamental challenges including reducing our environmental impact, meeting growing global demand for food, producing more from less as pressure increases on resources, and reformulating and creating new products to meet diet and health requirements.
"Using science and innovation effectively will be critical to survival and competitive advantage. We must support efforts to unlock, nurture and drive innovation in the industry that helps us to meet these challenges.”
"Ecotrophelia is a fantastic platform and source of innovation and inspiration for the industry capitalising on the creativity and energy of our brightest and most enterprising food students supported by the best academic institutions.”
European final at Anuga
Winners will go on to represent the UK at the European final, which will take place during Anuga in Cologne, Germany in October 2021.
The UK heat of this Europe-wide competition is organised by UK food and drink research organisation Campden BRI, in conjunction with the IFST, the independent qualifying body for food professionals in Europe.