SIAL 2018

Student innovation: What tomorrow’s innovators think we should be snacking today

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Ectrophelia searches out world-class innovation from some of Europe’s most enterprising students
Ectrophelia searches out world-class innovation from some of Europe’s most enterprising students

Related tags Innovation Startup company student SIAL University European union Functional food Food waste Ecological footprint

Functional elements, repurposing waste ingredients, emphasis on plant-based and eco-friendly processes and packaging – these are the key elements of what today’s food technology students consider important for innovative snacks.

At SIAL 2018, Ectrophelia Europe – a networking platform of inspiration for the food industry – celebrated its 10th​ anniversary with a series of cutting-edge products from some of Europe’s most innovative students.

Ectrophelia is a European innovation incubator that has capitalized on the creativity and energy of some of Europe’s most enterprising students, universities and established entrepreneurs for the past 19 years. It offers a network to share and experience the best in innovation, a concept that it today vital for manufacturers to stay ahead of the game.

A nod to the new generation

For the past decade, Ectrophelia has also hosted a Europe-wide competition to find the most cutting-edge products that define the search for food products that ‘ensure humanity’s survival by preparing a better world for future generations.’ In other words, ‘How can we eat well?’

Throughout this year, participating countries have organized their own competitions to find the students and products that stood out above the rest.

For example, in Lithuania – a 2018 newcomer and the first Baltic country to take part - the Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) chose 10 standout products, after which the student teams were paired with business representatives to further develop the products not only technologically, but also with an eye on the entrepreneurial point of view.

The country’s judges then elected one of the products to take part in Ectrophelia 2018.

After 115 national competitions held by 17 competing countries – with entries from more than 3,500 students from 350 universities – SIAL showcased the Ecotrophelia Europe 2018’s winners of 2018.

Product: Bizza

Country: Germany

Team: Toon Versmissen, Thomas van den Broek, Niels van Dyck and Michai Bernaerts from KU Leuven University


Bizza is a pizza dough produced from spent grain, beer wort and beer yeast collected from local breweries. By using these ingredients, the dough has a higher fiber content and a lower salt and fat content. Biodegradable packaging completes the ecological picture.

Product: Flipsos

Country: Croatia

Team: Simun Kvaternik, Toma Tadic, Marija Serdarevic, Korana Cindric, Anamarija Orsolic, Azra Kovacic and Jelena Cindric from the University of Osijek


Flipsos is a ready-to-eat, vegan, extruded snack – made from corn semolina, hemp and pumpkin seed press cakes (obtained from leftover pulp from cold pressed oils) – that is rich in fiber and a good source of protein. Contains no preservatives or additives, nor artificial colors or flavour enhancers; also free of allergens such as peanuts, lactose and gluten. The utilization of supercritical carbon dioxide in the extraction of fats from press cakes and low water waste makes this production eco-friendly.


Country: Germany

Team: Annika Eiden, Katrin Braun, Jessica Braun, Richard Henemann and Philipp Berns from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is a ‘caffeine meets cookie’ breakfast biscuit that time-strapped consumers can safely consume on-the-go at the beginning of the day. Caffeine comes from unconventional sources, including guarana and nutrient-rich freshwater algae, as well as essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Green in all its ingredients, the product is also packed in biodegradable packaging.

Product: Chestnicks

Country: Greece

Team members: Nikolaos Zachos and Nikolaos Lamprakis from the University of Applied Sciences of Thessaly (TEI Thessaly)


Gluten-free cookies made from organic chestnut flour (where even the non-commercial seeds are utilized in an overall waste-free process), studded with chocolate chips. The healthy biscuit has added functional properties, thanks to the added prebiotic inulin, which contributes to normal bowel function, as well as vitamins A, B2, B6, B9 and C, magnesium, potassium and manganese and a rich content of fiber. Again, packaging is made of recycled paper.

Product: BrewBun

Country: Hungary

Team: Bernadette Salamon, Emilia Bodor, Ors Olvedi, Zsolt Pinti, Gallert Pongracz, Andrea-Beata Simon and Vinceze Eva Boglarka from the Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania

Brew bun

BrewBun was created to use spent grains in an affordable, sustainable and healthy product with a high fiber and protein content. By using two types of byproducts – whey and brewer’s spent grains – the carbon footprint is 27.92% lower than other comparable products. The bun contains 8.66% protein, 4.75% fiber, 42.1% carbs and 1.03% fats, making it a total of 224.3 kcal/100g and comes in at only €0.21 per bun (VAT included).

Product: BrewBar

Country: Iceland

Team: Dovydas Raila and Bjorn Bragason from the University of Iceland


BrewBar is a high energy granola snack made from spent grains from beer brewing, which are still high in fiber. The snack is also a good source of protein from the addition of peanut butter, oats and almonds. Packed in eco-friendly plastic-free packaging, which can be recycled.

Product: Spire

Country: Italy

Team: Filippo Ferretti, Alessandro Colletti and Antotnino Maria Rimpici from the Universita degli Studi di Milano


Spire is a crunchy, savory extruded snack made of rice flour, pea flour and salt. The key ingredient is Spirulina, a microalga with high nutritional properties, including 60% proteins and a wide gamma of amino acids and vitamins, and characterized by environmentally-sustainable production process. Spire has an energy value of 135 kcal per 40g and is packed in 100% biodegradable packaging.

Product: Buckwheat Bar

Country: Lithuania

Team: Deimante Goroschovenkaite, Viktorija Kolesinkaite and Severina Kazlauskaite from the Kaunas University of Technology

Buckwheat bar

An organic bar made from brawls left over from buckwheat cakes. Contains only organic ingredients, including puffed roasted buckwheat, date syrup, lemon juice, raisins, cranberries, chia seeds and flax seeds. Shelf life is six months, which again demonstrates the bars’ ecological and natural properties. Rich in protein, vitamins, dietary fibers and omega 3 fatty acids. GMO-free, fewer pesticides and grown with natural fertilizers.

Product: Panggies

Country: The Netherlands

Team: Rebeca Munuzuri, Hazel Thu Zar Htun, Jorsia Paliama, Julia Swierzewska, Scartett Boras and Jorik Roodink from the Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences

Pancake mix

A pancake pre-mix made with dried vegetable powders to combat the problem of low vegetable consumption among Dutch children. Designed to add a simple, healthy and convenient method to increase a child’s veggie intake that saves parents’ time.

Product: Pom Puffs

Country: United Kingdom

Team: Lisa Williamson, Megan Munro, Sophia Irving, Shivanee Lodhia and Katherine Ringue from the University of Nottingham

Pom Puffs

Pom Puffs – available in BBQ and Salt & Vinegar flavors – are made from maize grits and leftover apple pomace, with each pack contributing to help the community. High in fiber and packed in 100% recyclable packaging.

Additional winners included

  • Cheesei​ – a powder that turns legume byproducts into a nut-based vegan cheese – from students at the Technical University of Denmark.
  • Hush (Heat-up, Shake, Health)​ – a warm fruit beverage – from students at the Université de Technologie de Compiègne in France.
  • Bean Ready​ – a ready-to-eat bean-based vegetarian stew that is a good source of fiber and protein – from students at the Universidade do Minho in Portugal.
  • Whoopie Ice​ – an eco-innovative ice cream made from concentrated whey with cream and fruits – from the students of Dunarea de Jos University of Galati in Romania.
  • Acornico​ – a hot dessert drink with the addition of acorn – from students from the University of Belgrade in Serbia.
  • Mousse-Have​ – a vegan chocolate mousse made from aquafaba and fruit sauce – from students at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.
  • Essenza di Vega​ – a pasta-filled pocket made from amaranth flour, quinoa flour and flour obtain from the byproduct of the Persimon juice industry – from the students of Universidad Miguel Hernandez in Spain.

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