The student team from the University of Reading – one of two teams of finalists from the University this year – impressed the judges with its gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan fortified lunchbox snack for young children.
As part of its pitch the to the judges in the Dragon's Den-style competition, team members were asked to consider the ecological impact of their products and make production more sustainable.
Speaking to Food Manufacture, team lead Catherine Hamilton discussed the approach her team took to packaging their product in a way to maintain its eco-friendly credentials.
‘Outside the box’
“During our research into different types of packaging, we wanted to go outside the box,” she explained. “A member of our team found a material called Plantic, which is biodegradable, plant-based and made of 80% renewable materials, so it’s very sustainable. Other benefits included food [inside the packaging] was fresher.
“Our product comes in a pack of four that is surrounded in a cardboard sleeve rather than plastic or a film, so that can be recycled. We know that packaging is important to consumers, so we wanted to make sure it was very environmentally friendly.”
Now in its ninth year, the Ecotrophelia competition celebrates innovations made by food students and helps guide their careers in the food and drink sector.
Eco-friendly and innovative
Judges from across the industry assess entrants in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition on their ability to develop a product that is innovative and eco-friendly.
Commenting on this year’s competition, Campden BRI membership ambassador, professional development and culture excellence lead Bertrand Emond 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. Innovation and creativity are essential for the continued success of the food industry and Ecotrophelia helps to achieve this.”
Econauts, the student team from the University of Nottingham, took home the gold prize at this year’s competition with its non-alcoholic take on coffee liqueur.
The UK heat Europe-wide Ecotrophelia 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.