Tips for Ecotrophelia: lessons from the UK 2022 edition

Last week, my students and I went to the Ecotrophelia UK final. I am collecting a list of tips for Ecotrophelia participants to help all of those who will look forward to participating again or for the first time. This year, my students were among the finalists. They presented a product called Pea-zza: a gluten-free, fully customisable pizza dough fortified with pea proteins. 

Suppose you are a food science student studying in Europe and have never heard about Ecotrophelia. In that case, you are missing an excellent opportunity to meet relevant people from the food industry and a great moment of confrontation with your peers and future colleagues.

Ecotrophelia logo

Ecotrophelia UK 2022

Tesco HQ quarters in Welwyn Gardens hosted the Ecotrophelia UK edition for 2022. Let me tell you, that is a fantastic venu!. When you enter the Tesco Heart building, you see people tasting food formulations and a great food development facility with open space offices. Seeing all of this was like a dream.

But, before I go off-topic, let me tell you more about Ecotrophelia if you don’t know much about it:

Ecotrophelia UK is the national ‘Dragon den’ type of competition. It involves developing and proposing an eco-innovative food product that could be financially viable. In the UK, both the Institute of Food Science & Technology and Campden BRI organise this competition. Several teams from across UK Universities (but this is a process that happens all over Europe) are shortlisted. The winning team then represents the UK at the European final.

All the 5 shortlisted teams alongside the dragons from this year’s Ecotrophelia UK with the winners from the University of Nottingham.

The competition is open to university students and other scientific/technical higher education establishments. Teams should have a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 10 people. The age limit is 35.

Tips for Ecotrophelia for future participants

These are the technicalities that you can read on the Ecotrophelia UK website, but let me give you some tips for Ecotrophelia. Here is what you need to know if you want to participate and what you will need to prepare:

  • First of all, come up with a compelling product idea and find team members that will develop the formulation, write the relevant documents, and present eventually to a jury of ‘dragons.’
  • Look for team members with different background (Food Science, Nutrition, Finance, Economics, Communication, Design etc..)
  • Write a 20 pages dossier with all the relevant information about your product.
  • When you get shortlisted for the finals, produce your product prototype alongside its packaging

Don’t forget to

Here are the things you should pay into consideration if you are shortlisted:

  • Firstly. Pay attention to branding. How you present your product in your stand is vital.
  • Remember to print posters. Moreover, prepare social media accounts, and set your stall as professionally as possible. Remember, you are ‘selling’ your product to the jury.
  • The marketing strategy should be solid. Therefore, make sure that you explore the topic extensively.
  • Don’t leave any gap aside. You are developing an eco-innovative product, therefore, you must show the jury that you have a genuinely innovative product that would be well-positioned in the market.
  • Study your ingredients.
  • Packaging and sustainability are key.
  • Practice! Don’t be sloppy in your presentation and study how to effectively speak in public (once again, you are selling a product, you should be enthusiastic about it)
  • Plan for any contingency. That is to say, I would suggest considering any possible thing that could go wrong., Plan ahead for any scenario!

More tips

Don’t forget to:

  • Talk to the jury after deliberation. Find out about their background, network and connect with them
  • Talk to the other team members; that is to say, they will be future colleagues!
  • Try all of the products! Give and ask for genuine feedback
  • Have fun!

In conclusion, now that I have shared with you some lessons from my Ecotrophelia experience, you have no more excuses. Start working on your product and team building now!

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