Three groups of students from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology recently cooked up creative, delicious and award-winning food solutions at the European Union-supported EIT competition.
The basis of the event was to take real-world nutritional and sustainability challenges faced by the food industry and come up with innovative solutions with the potential to transform the food system and promote sustainability and health.
Participants were asked to solve two challenges: creating an innovative, healthy, and sustainable product using an oat-based ingredient in addition to designing innovative food products for the elderly that address the issue of loss of taste, palatability, and efficiency of nutrient uptake.
Although the groups did not fly to Europe to present due to COVID restrictions, experts and mentors from top European universities supervised the student’s progress, together with leading companies Nestle, Danone-Nutricia, Döhler, IMDEA and Puratos. Two of the Technion teams won first place and another came in third.
In first place for sustainable foods, Bioat offered a vegan “labane” cheese spread based on fermenting the oat ingredient and dietary fiber. According to the judges, the "cheese" was a tasty alternative to dairy products.
The CRACKEAT Group won first place in Food Products Challenge for the Elderly, keeping in mind their struggles with obesity, diabetes, and nutritional requirements. The team came up with a soy-based, creamy treat with a crisp cookie on top. The product was praised by the judges for its unique presentation and taste. The final product provides a complex experience of different textures, while also being more environmentally friendly than current packaging solutions. It is high in protein and fiber, sugar-free, and low in saturated fat. CRACKEAT went through many taste tests among its target population who gave it the thumbs up for taste and texture.
Taking third place in the elderly category was LiteDelight for the development of a unique nutritional snack based solely on natural ingredients and tailored to the needs and desires of the senior population.
"This win wraps up a whole year of hard work," said faculty members and mentors Dr. Maya Davidovich-Pinhas, Professor Uri Lesmes, and Professor Avi Shpigelman. “This achievement demonstrates the excellence of students in this faculty, not only in the engineering and technological aspects, but also creatively and in their ability to deal with all aspects of the process from market research, creating a business feasibility study, addressing regulatory and marketing issues, conducting shelf-life analysis, planning the commercial manufacturing process, and of course presenting their product to experts."