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Students' bursting Beri Bar in UK finals of food competition

Posted 19 May 2014

“We have developed the bar using a molecular gastronomy approach – combining food and chemistry to something modern and exciting that hasn’t been seen before.”

L-R Rachel Fisher, Laura Elam, Emma Garlick and Rachel McKenna

A cereal bar with a molecular gastronomy twist has secured a team of students from Harper Adams University a place in the UK finals of a Dragons' Den-style competition to find the best eco-innovative food product.

The Beri Bar, developed by Food and Nutrition students Laura Elam, Emma Garlick, Rachel Fisher and Rachel McKenna, under the team name The Gastronommies, is one of five products in the UK final of the Ecotrophelia: European Food Innovation Student Awards.

“The bar is topped with mini raspberry spheres, which are gel on the outside and liquid on the inside, and burst when you eat them,” explained Emma, 19, from Witcombe, Gloucester, who was also part of the team that reached the Ecotrophelia European finals in 2013.  “We have developed the bar using a molecular gastronomy approach – combining food and chemistry to something modern and exciting that hasn’t been seen before.”

“We wanted to take the cereal bar and make it more exciting and fresh,” added Rachel Fisher, 20, from Curdworth, Warwickshire. “It began as part of our New Product Development module in the autumn term, and we started work on the actual bar just before Christmas. We are now developing the product in our own time for the Ecotrophelia competition.”

The Gastronommies will compete for £3,500 in prize money and the chance to represent the UK at Ecotrophelia Europe when they present the Beri Bar to industry leaders on June 10 at Camden BRI, Gloucestershire. 

“We’ll be doing a Dragon’s Den-style presentation to representatives of some really big names from the food industry, including Warburtons, Coca-Cola, Nestle, PepsiCo and Genius Gluten-free,” said Rachel McKenna, 19, from Romsley, Worcestershire. “We will then stay overnight and attend the Campden BRI Day on June 11th, when the UK winner will be announced. Hopefully we can follow the success of last year’s Harper Adams team and make it to the European final in Paris!”

Laura, 19, from Gillingham, Dorset, gave thanks for the support the team has had to get to this stage. “Our lecturers have been really helpful. Further support has come from food packaging company Sirane UK and Omega Ingredients. And last week we visited Lumiere restaurant in Cheltenham, where head chef Jon Howe demonstrated some molecular gastronomy techniques which have provided further inspiration.

“The Beri Bar is still evolving, but we are delighted to have already got this far with it!”

All four students will be undertaking sandwich year placements in 2014/15. “There are great opportunities for students on the food courses – we get snapped up really quickly for placements!” explained Rachel Fisher, who will be working for fresh food company MMUK. 

Laura Elam will join Pork Farms for a year, while Emma Garlick and Rachel McKenna have both secured scholarship-linked placements which will see them work for poultry company, Faccenda.  

 

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