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Award for Vegan Meat Alternative Made from Banana Peels

Award for Vegan Meat Alternative Made from Banana Peels

© FEI | TROPHELIA Deutschland 2023

Four students from the Master's programme in Food Research and Development won the special innovation prize of the TROPHELIA Ideas Competition 2023. Their product: a vegan alternative to pulled pork, consisting of banana peels marinated in a barbecue sauce made from fermented vegetables.

Product development in the master's programme Food Research and Development

The four students Vivien, Anna, Emilia and Pia from the young master's programme in Food Research and Development developed an innovative product as part of the product development module. The goal was to create a tasty food that not only corresponds to current trends, but is also ecologically beneficial. This motivation gave rise to the idea of using banana peels, a conventional waste product from the food industry, as the basis for a vegan meat alternative. The traditional Pulled Pork should thus get competition. The result of this work is the vegan alternative Barbecue Banana. It consists of cooked banana peel marinated with a barbecue sauce made from fermented vegetables.

Behind flavour and shelf life: a fermented vegetable blend

During product development in the institute's kitchen, special emphasis was placed on the fermented vegetable blend. The students tried many vegetable and spice mixes until a satisfactory and tasty result was achieved. On the one hand, fermentation makes the product last longer by naturally lowering the pH, and on the other hand, it gives the sauce a unique flavour. Compared to conventional ready-made products, it was thus possible to develop a barbecue sauce that is lower in salt and sugar. The banana peel and the high proportion of fruit and vegetables are also a good source of fibre.
Additionally, the students developed a marketing plan for Barbecue Banana and packaged the product in grass paper – the exterior reflects the story behind the product and the team's values.

Overall, Barbecue Banana not only provides a tasty alternative to meat products, but more importantly, helps reduce food waste by finding a meaningful use for banana peels. In addition, the product is in line with current food trends such as the increasing demand for vegan recipes and the drive towards a “zero-waste” lifestyle, which promises great market potential.

Special Innovation Award

The team entered the TROPHELIA competition with Barbecue Banana and was selected among the six best teams for the finals in Bonn. With their presentation and tasting, the team succeeded in convincing the jury of their idea: they received the special award for the most innovative product idea of the competition. Points were deducted for the economic relevance of the product. Since banana peels have not yet been approved as a novel food, it is not yet a marketable product.

The students would like Barbecue Banana to serve as an example of how innovative solutions can create sustainable and delicious alternatives to traditional foods. They are convinced that "only through creative solutions the global problem of resource waste can be solved sustainably".