Competition in food innovation

9 Minutes

The new age has shifted weight to the quality of food products with emphasis, through innovation, on nutritional value, durability, use of local products and targeting to special groups (diabetics, etc.). The sectors with the highest degree of innovation are dairy products, beverages, ready meals, frozen products, appetizers, meat products, chocolate products, sweets, cereals, alcoholic beverages and more. In order to link the production process to research, and, at the same time, promote innovation in the field of nutrition, a widespread practice is a competition for the emergence of innovative products / packaging / disposal techniques on national and international level.

Important international competitions are:

  • Food Innovation Challenge which regards business ideas of packaged products disposal, in which the last winner (details here) received a prize of 50.000$ of seed funding and 50.000$ of services from National Foodworks Services.
  • LAUNCH Food which regards innovative ideas promoting healthy nutrition choices.
  • ECOTROPHELIA which is based on the projects of students' teams about creating innovative food products, which can be later promoted to the food industry.

In Greece, food sector competitions are ECOTROPHELIA and Life Innovation.

EcotropheliaThe Federation of Greek Food Industries (SEVT) has launched the 7th ECOTROPHELIA 2017 competition to create new eco-innovative food products. The aim of the competition is to support young Greek students who are engaged in food science and to become a nursery for innovative ideas in food industry. The competition aims to create innovative nutrition products (food or beverages), which will necessarily present elements of eco-innovation. In order to participate in the competition it is necessary to have a final product, which will be tested.

The ECOTROPHELIA competition is conducted on 2 levels. First, on national level, where each Food Industry Association organizes the competition in its own country to promote the best team and, then, the winners of all countries participate in the European Competition to be held at the«Food Matters Live 2017» 2017 International Food Fair , in London, 22-23/11/2017. The competition is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students of tertiary educational institutions and research institutes in Greece. Participation in the competition is through teams, consisting of 2 to 10 people, coming from the same or different university or research institutes. It is permissible for groups to be mixed, ie consisting of students of 2 levels (undergraduate and postgraduate) and be guided by a maximum of 2 supervisors, who may be either Doctoral Candidates or Postdoctoral Researchers, Lecturers, Teachers, etc.. The competition includes 4 money and 2 prizes:

  • The ECOTROPHELIA Gold Award, which includes a cash prize of € 1,200 and the participation of the team at the ECOTROPHELIA European competition, to be held at the International Food Show "Food Matters Live 2017" in London on 22-23/11/2017 Travel, with accommodation costs are covered by the European competition.
  • The ECOTROPHELIA Silver Prize, which includes a cash prize worth € 800.
  • The ECOTROPHELIA bronze prize, which includes a cash prize worth € 500.
  • The FOODPRINT Award for the best environmental footage, including a € 500 cash prize. Only products that have computed their environmental footprint will be awarded for this prize by completing the corresponding field in the technical envelope.
  • Honorary Best Presentation Award.
  • Honorary Best Marketing & Marketing Plan Award

The food product should:

  • Not be marketed until the day of the contest.
  • Be intended for human consumption.
  • Be tradable for retail sale and/or for sale in restaurants and/or for catering.
  • Be innovative in one or more points compared to similar products on the market. Innovation may be related to the idea and/or the technological aspects and/or the composition and/or packaging,
  • Take into account eco-innovation with regard to the main components (origin, biological and/or low energy footprint, etc.) and/or packaging (recyclable, etc.) and/or the production process (energy saving, use of recycled water, etc.), and/or logistics (new services, small supply chains, etc.).
  • Be distinguished for its organoleptic, nutritional or other properties.
  • Be reproducible on an industrial basis based on the description of the dossier (ingredients, production process, production costs, industrial investment, etc.).
  • Comply with applicable regulations (process, additives and ingredients, packaging, advertising, safety)
  • Be commercially exploitable (balance between supply and demand, marketing plan, packaging, logistics, etc.).
  • Be fully consistent with all of the above criteria.

In the 2017 competition the products that were awarded in the competition are the following:

  • First prize (€ 1,200 in prize money and participation in the European competition to be held at the Food Matters Live 2017 International Food Fair, London, 22-23 / 11/2017) Τeam of the NTUA/School of Chemical Engineering for the product "AVOYOG Smoothie Beverage", a functional drink of avocados and strawberry yoghurt with prebiotics and antioxidants.
  • 2nd prize (prize money 800 €) Group of ATEI/Department of Nutrition and Dietetics - AUA/Department of Biotechnology - NTUA/School of Electrical and Computer Engineering for "Yomast", a Greek yogurt 2% without lactose with mastic, enriched with vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus.
  • 3rd prize (prize money 500 €) Team of the NTUA/School of Chemical Engineering for the product "Eli", a snack of Greek green olives with crisp coating.
  • Honorary Award for Best Presentation To TEI THESSALY/Food Technology Department for the "Don Cake" product, which is protein fiber cookies cooked with cream cheese and goat milk.
  • Honorary Award "Best Marketing & Marketing Plan" To PAN. AEGEAN/Department of Food and Nutrition Science for the product "Honey Bee Good", a food based on Greek honey and herbs.
  • FOODPRINT Award Group of the NTUA/School of Chemical Engineering & ELGO DIMITRA/Institute of Agricultural Technology for the product "Veggie Cuts", which had the best environmental footprint in order to raise awareness among students and to encourage food companies to take all necessary actions to reduce Of carbon emissions.

In the 2016 competition, according to the results of the evaluation, 16 student groups were selected in the second phase, namely:

National Technical University of Athens / Chemical Engineering School «Vegan, Say Cheese» It is a vegan spreading product alternative to milk products, rich in nutritional and probiotic cultures.

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki / Agriculture School «OnYoGreekWhey» The product is a nutritious yoghurt dessert with bioactive ingredients from whey and onion bark.

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki / Chemistry Department «HALKIDELEAR» The product is tasty olives with reduced salt for all groups of people in a smart snack package.

Agricultural University of Athens / Food Science and Human Nutrition «SHELLICIOUS» The product is tasty vegetable chips, enriched in calcium with high nutritional value.

TEI of Athens / Food Technology and Nutrition Department & Univeristy of Ioaninna / Biological Application and Technology Department «DEMAVIE» The product is an innovative nourishing nutritional supplement donkey milk, rich in beta-glucans and antioxidants and of low calorie value.

National Technical University of Athens / Chemical Engineering School «Fibertoni» The product is a type of fresh pasta of high nutritional value without gluten from alternative buckwheat flour, beans and a high percentage of dietary fiber.

Agricultural University of Athens / Food Science and Human Nutrition
«Veggie it» The product is a delicious, high-value stuffed biscuit with lyophilized vegetables and beta-glucan.

Agricultural University of Athens / Food Science and Human Nutrition «ProBito» The product is a beverage, absolutely delicious and functional, made of fresh tomato juice, probiotics and stevia!

National Technical University of Athens / Chemical Engineering School «GR – Eco salad snack» The product is a semi-dehydrated healthy snack with rich flavor, high nutritional value and stable at ambient temperature.

TEI of Thessalia / Food Technology Department «LO.GI.C BREADD» The product is functional woody oven with low glycemic index, β-glucan, vitamins D and E, ω-3 & fibers.

TEI of Thessalia / Food Technology Department «οΝvit» The product is ice cream, with honey and beta-glucan, low in fat, ecological.

Aegean University / Food and Nutrition Science Department «SIX STICKS» The product is a salty bar of cereals with ω3 fatty acids and gluten-free and lactose-free fiber.

TEI of Thessalia / Food Technology Department «Cruckies» The product is raw oatmeal cookies, a source of fiber and beta-glucan, a new proposal for a healthy lifestyle.

Aegean University / Food and Nutrition Science Department «Black waves» They are ecologically nutritious crackers that combine unique Mavragani flour and Kalathaki Lemnos cheese, Mytilini olives and extracts of Greek herbs.

Aegean University / Food and Nutrition Science Department «Αegean Puffs» It is an innovative snack, of high nutritional value, made 100% of local raw materials from the Aegean islands.

TEI of Thessalia / Food Technology Department «MEDdipTERRANEO» It is a tomato sauce bio-functional, ecological, of high nutritional value, with a strong Mediterranean character.

With the completion of the 2nd phase, the products, distinguished in the competition, are the following:

  • 1st prize: € 1,200 cash prize and participation in the European competition to be held in Paris on 17 October 2016 in the framework of the SIAL International Exhibition. The product that won the 1st place was "Veggie it" and arose from the collaboration of I. Makaritis, N. Grivokostopoulos, M. Gerekou, D. Siderakos, K. - A. Steriotis, D. Tagouli, GAO students under the guidance of Dr. A. Kapetanakou.

  • 2nd Prize: 800 € cash prize The product that won 2nd place was the "GR - Eco salad snack", which resulted from the collaboration of K. Panteleakis, C. Koumandrakis, M. Yannoglou, NTUA students under the guidance of Dr. G. Katsaros.

  • 3rd prize: 500 € cash prize The product that won 3rd place was the "HALKIDELEAR", which resulted from the collaboration of A. Mashrelexis, M. Philippidou and E. Papadakis, students of the Aristotle University under the direction of Prof. M. Tsimidou.
  • Honorary Best Presentation Award The Best Presentation Award was awarded to the TEI of Thessaly for the product "Cruckies".
  • Honorary Best Marketing - Marketing Award The Best Marketing and Marketing Plan was awarded to the Aegean University for the product "Aegean Puffs".

Life Innovation

An innovation competition was launched by APIVITA, in collaboration with the "Βιοεπιχειρείν", entitled "Life Innovation", offering a lucrative scholarship of 6,000 Euros funded 50% from"Βιοεπιχειρείν" and 50% from APIVITA with the possibility of dissertation at the APIVITA bioclimatic plant. The competition has three thematic sections:

  • Innovative Cosmetic Product
  • Innovative Dietary Product
  • Innovative Dietary Supplement

Right to participate to the competition have: Graduates of Health Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Polytechnic Schools and other Departments of Greek Universities or recognized institutions abroad, as well as graduates of ATEI departments of relevant cognitive subject. Deadline for submitting proposals is July 5, 2017. A total of six (6) best proposals from all thematic sections will be announced on July 15th and will qualify for the 2nd phase of the competition, from which the 3 best proposals for the third and final phase of the competition. To enter the competition, tap here.