Food Science students into the dragons den

The best part of being a food science lecturer is helping students work as a team and to teach them to be commercial foodie creatives. Through lectures and practicals they develop a good understanding of environmental sustainability and consumer needs.

Students spent eight weeks developing new products for coursework assessment and now they are facing a tougher challenge. Out of 20 of my MSc Food Science students at London Metropolitan University five won through to the finals of a prestigious national food competition.

Five teams nationwide  were shortlisted to face a panel of industry ‘dragons’ in the Ecotrophelia UK final. Now in its fifth year, Ecotrophelia challenges teams of UK students to develop an innovative, eco-friendly food or  drink product.

The UK heat of this Europe-wide competition is organised by UK food and drink research organisation, Campden BRI, in conjunction with the Institute of Food Science & Technology, the independent qualifying body for food professionals in Europe.

The ‘dragons’ are senior food experts from across industry including Marks and Spencer, Coca-Cola, Unilever, PepsiCo, Mondelez, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Warburtons, Food Manufacture, Institute of Food Science and Technology and Campden BRI.

My students designed the concept, produced technical specifications, did nutritional analysis and designed the packaging for their product.  This is the delicious Windfall Fruit Jelly: natural jelly desserts made without gelatine and suitable for vegans. Made from fruit juice, no added sugar or preservatives from fruit which would normally be wasted.



In the finals last year of the same competition my students were shortlisted with their  Apeel premium snack bar with whole nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetable peels drizzled with dark chocolate. They used cocoa waste provided by Hotel Chocolate.



The competition has been fierce this year with more teams than ever competing for a place in the final and a slice of the £3,500 prize fund. A panel of food expert judges carefully assessed the initial entrants before picking the final shortlisted five.

Bertrand Emond, Head of Membership and Training at Campden BRI said, “It’s fantastic to see so many young people engage with this competition and put forward such innovative products. Last year’s winning team went on to win bronze prize in the European final with their algae based iced dessert so we have high hopes for the teams again this year.”

The other shortlisted products are :

  • Colipop: A cauliflower based savoury snack – University of West London
  • Lagom Veg: Dried spiralised vegetables infused with chilli and lemongrass –  Nottingham Trent University
  • Yasai Caulirice Sushi: Sushi style rolls that combine crunchy cauliflower rice with fresh-tasting vegetables – University of Reading
  • Chocolate Strawberry Torte Donut: A baked cacao donut – University of Reading

The finalist pitch their products to the dragons in June and the winner will be announced at the Campden BRI day for food industry specialists and innovators.

STOP PRESS: The Windfall jellies team have won bronze and £500. They are delighted!

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