Students looking to devise a solution to the problem of bread waste faced by a Nottingham social enterprise, have developed an ‘innovative’ Gulab Jamun-style sweet treat.
University of Nottingham student-led social enterprise, Foodprint, collects food that supermarkets would otherwise throw away and sells it via a ‘social supermarket’, as part of a surplus food redistribution network.
However, the organisation faces a problem with surplus bread that it cannot sell or redistribute, and which as a result constitutes around 90% of Foodprint’s waste. On a national level, UK households throw away the equivalent of around 1 million loaves every day, according to figures from UK charity WRAP.
This challenge – introduced by the Food Innovation Centre at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington campus – was taken up by five students studying food science and nutrition.
They devised a novel way to turn bread that had exceeded its best before date into a sweet treat based on the traditional Indian dessert ‘Gulab Jamun’, which substitutes flour for the surplus product.
The students’ innovation won Ecotrophelia UK, a Dragons’ Den-style competition for the creation of innovative eco-friendly food and drink products.
“Using surplus bread to make a new product is something that’s not only applicable to us, here at Foodprint, but to the whole industry,” said Chris Hyland, a second-year student who runs Foodprint.
“It’s really hopeful to see that new products can be created from bread waste and we are very keen to see if this can become a commercial product that might one day appear on supermarket shelves.”
This waste problem faced by Foodprint was taken up by the Food Innovation Centre under the Driving Research and Innovation project, a three-year initiative, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), that provides free specialist innovation support to SMEs.
Richard Worrall, who runs the project, added: “Bread waste is a big issue in the food sector and the Food Innovation Centre is delighted to have played a supporting role in this latest scheme which has invented an award-winning new dessert.
“The next step is to look at how this could be turned into a commercial product. Foodprint is a student social enterprise with limited funds and so we may need to turn to an industry partner to help them commercialise the product.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020
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