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UK students urged to enter European innovation competition

Food and drink research organisation Campden BRI and the Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST) are urging UK food science and technology students to enter ‘Ecotrophelia 2014, the prestigious European food innovation competition which promotes innovation, creativity and sustainability to students pursuing a future career in the food sector.

Following a successful 2013 when a team of students from Harper Adams University struck gold in the UK finals held at Campden BRI’s headquarters in Gloucestershire with their ‘More Than Meat’ offal pie and represented the UK at the Ecotrophelia Europe finals at ANUGA — the world´s leading food fair for the retail trade and the food service and catering market — in Cologne, it is hoped that many more students will be encouraged to take part.

The annual competition challenges students to develop brand-new, innovative, eco-friendly food products to win a share of a prize pot of up to €15,000. Backed by the European Commission and in the UK, Defra, as well as household names, including Nestle, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Sainsbury’s, Ecotrophelia attracts students from countries across Europe including: France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Russia.

With a ‘Dragons’ Den-style’ format, the UK heat of the competition is being organised jointly by Campden BRI and the IFST and is open to teams of students from UK universities. This year, the stakes are high with students vying for the £2,000 top prize and the opportunity to enter the European finals at SIAL in Paris, competing with finalists from 20 other participating countries.

The ‘dragons’, a distinguished panel of food industry experts including representatives from Sainsbury’s, defra, PepsiCo, Warburtons, Coca Cola and Genius; will assemble at Campden BRI’s Chipping Campden site on 10 June 2014 to listen to shortlisted students make their pitches.

The winning student team will be announced the following day at Campden BRI’s annual, high-profile food industry event ‘Campden BRI Day’ on 11 June 2014.

Bertrand Emond, Head of Membership and Training at Campden BRI, said: “Ecotrophelia gives food students a unique opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the new product development process from the brainstorming ideas stage through to creating a finished product ready for the supermarket shelf. This kind of experience is absolutely invaluable; a chance to participate in a ‘real-life’ food innovation and development process and gain practical key skills that you just wouldn’t get out of a text book and which you can then apply in your future career.

“The very essence of Ecotrophelia is about encouraging young, ambitious individuals in higher education to get a taste for themselves of what is required for a successful career in the exciting and dynamic food industry. Campden BRI continues to be committed to supporting young and emerging talent in the food sector and we are excited to be helping to organise the UK heats again this year.”

Rebecca Lund, from Harper Adams University, who was part of the UK’s inaugural team who went to the European finals last year said: “I would say to any student considering taking part in Ecotrophelia to go for it! It was a huge learning curve for all of us, but we got so much out of it and learned a lot about how the food products we see every day on supermarket shelves get there. The competition has inspired all of us to pursue our dream of working in the food industry – and we’re sure that the fact we can put on our CVs that we are Ecotrophelia finalists will help us achieve with our career goals!”

The closing date for UK entries is 21 March 2014.

Keep up to date with all the activity from the UK competition on Twitter #EcotropheliaUK.

To find out more information about any aspect of Ecotrophelia, visit www.ecotrophelia-uk.org or contact Campden BRI’s training department on +44 (0) 1386 842104 or email training@campden.co.uk.