Nottingham Trent students win Ecotrophelia UK

The Från Början team pick up their Ecotrophelia UK 2016 winner’s cheque from M&S’s Sue Bell

A student team from Nottingham Trent University has scooped the gold prize for their low-fat, non-dairy ice cream made with algal protein, in the UK leg of Ecotrophelia 2016 – the pan-European competition for ecologically inspired innovative new product development (NPD).

The Från Början team from Nottingham Trent University picked up the award on Wednesday June 9 at the Campden BRI annual open day for their vegan, low-fat luxury iced dessert.

The name Från Början, Swedish for “from the beginning”, refers to the algal protein used to replace dairy protein in the chocolate flavoured ice cream, which wowed the panel of senior judges – or ‘dragons’ – from across the UK food and drink industry.

According to its organisers, Ecotrophelia aimed to give students a taste of NPD. From idea generation through to the final packaged product, the teams received a hands-on experience of what it takes to bring an eco-friendly food or drink product to market.

Along with a £2,000 cash prize, the winning team will go on to represent the UK at the European Ecotrophelia finals, which take place during the Sial food show in Paris from October 16 to 20.

They will also be invited to become Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST) Young Ambassadors.

IFST organised the Ecotrophelia UK competition in conjunction with Campden BRI. Judging took place at Campden BRI on Tuesday June 8.

Both members of the team – Ryan Clifford and Dominic Urban – are apprentices at Unilever and are being sponsored by the company while studying for a BSc in Science and Food Technology at Nottingham Trent University.

‘Great opportunity’

“Ecotrophelia is a great opportunity to take an idea from concept right through to the final product,” said Clifford. “It’s been a great experience and I would like to thank everyone that has supported us throughout the competition.”

The awards were introduced by the competition’s chief judge and executive director of Warburtons, Brett Warburton, and presented by Sue Bell, head of food technology at Marks & Spencer (M&S).

The El Nacho team from College of Agriculture Food & Rural Enterprise in Northern Ireland was awarded the silver prize and £1,000 for their slow-cooked, pulled turkey in a hot enchilada sauce with chunky nachos.

The bronze prize and £500 was awarded to the Hemptations team from Nottingham Trent University for their non-dairy flavoured hemp milkshakes. All the winning teams will also receive a one-year IFST membership and a number of Elsevier food science publications.

The judging panel comprised representatives from The Coca-Cola Company, M&S, Mondelēz, PepsiCo, Sainsbury, Tesco and Warburtons, as well as the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK and Food Manufacture.

The 10-strong panel of dragons listened to the teams’ pitches and tasted the products before carefully considering each entry for its industrial feasibility, taste, eco-innovation, originality, creativity and innovation, and market credibility.

‘Interest in Ecotropheila UK growing’

“It’s very encouraging to see interest in Ecotrophelia UK growing year-on-year,” said Bertrand Emond, head of membership and training at Campden BRI.

“A record 19 teams from across the UK have entered the competition this year and the standard has been exceptionally high. We are delighted to have so many big names supporting Ecotrophelia to help attract the brightest and the best young talent to the food and drink industry.”

The Från Början team will go on to compete against the gold-winning national teams from across the whole of Europe for the chance to win up to €6,000 in the Ecotrophelia Europe competition at Sial.

Ecotrophelia UK 2016 finalists
  • Apeel: A premium snack bar with whole nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetable peels drizzled with dark chocolate – London Metropolitan University
  • Hemptations: Hemp milkshakes in a range of flavours – Nottingham Trent University
  • El Nacho: Slow cooked pulled pork in a hot enchilada sauce with chunky nachos for dipping – The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, Northern Ireland
  • Spent N’ Gain: Extruded flavoured snack product made from brewer’s spent grain – The University of Nottingham
  • Från Början: Vegan, low fat iced dessert made with algal protein – Nottingham Trent University

 

Ecotrophelia UK ‘dragons’
  • Brett Warburton (chair of judges), executive director, Warburtons
  • Sue Bell, head of food technology, M&S
  • Maureen Edmondson, president, IFST
  • Tim Ingmire, R&D senior director, global foods innovation, PepsiCo
  • Victoria Jones, senior group leader, ingredients research, Mondelēz International
  • Alec Kyriakides, head of product quality, safety and supplier performance, Sainsbury
  • Helen Munday, lead technologist in agrifood, Innovate UK
  • Philip Parsons, senior director global R&D, process and engineering innovation, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Rick Pendrous, editor, Food Manufacture
  • Richard Stride, head of product research and academy, Tesco
  • Professor Steven Walker, director general, Campden BRI

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