Aveiro university students win food eco-innovation prize

  • Lusa
  • 20 October 2020

Orangebee is a fermented preparation of aquafaba with a layer of orange jelly, sprinkled with bee pollen. It can be used as a dessert.

Portugal won first prize at ECOTROPHELIA Europe, considered the biggest European competition in food eco-innovation, with a preparation of two master’s degree students from the University of Aveiro on Tuesday.

The food preparation “Orangebee”, based on aquafaba and bee pollen, which reuses waste from the food industry, was the winner of the competition which brought together university students from 13 European countries, this year’s edition being the fourth Portuguese participation.

The competition aims to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and competitiveness in the European agri-food sector, challenging students in higher education to develop innovative and sustainable products.

Bárbara Vitoriano and Adelaide Olim, master students in food biotechnology and design, respectively, at the University of Aveiro, developed a fermented preparation of aquafaba (water that results from the cooking of legumes) with a layer of orange jelly, sprinkled with bee pollen.

It is a food product “that can be used as a dessert, and reuses residues usually despised by the food industry”.

According to the project’s mentors, Orangebee “is a fat-free fermented preparation and a source of fibre, with 89 kcal per serving (which provides 8% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C and 21% of the daily dose of FOS, an important prebiotic in regulating intestinal transit) and is a vegetarian product, free of gluten and lactose.

Due to the presence of bee pollen, considered a functional food, it also provides a considerable amount of antioxidant vitamins and flavonoids, essential in protecting the body against external aggressions.

Christoph Hartmann of Nestlé, who led the European jury, explained the choice: “The Orangebee product has a very appealing design, great quality and a high value proposition. It is an excellent contribution to the future of food innovation”.

Orangebee was the eco-innovative project that represented Portugal, after being selected in the national competition, among the 13 countries in competition and the 14 European universities present.

The projects developed by the student teams from Greece and Iceland secured second and third place on the podium respectively – the O-live project, which developed oil-based gressines with different vegetable and Greek fruit fillings, and the Frosti project, which presented a lactose-free skyr flake solution.