From leftover chickpea water to vegan desserts
A vegan dessert based on reusing chickpea cooking water has just won first place in DTU’s (Technical University of Denmark) food innovation competition Ecotrophelia. Vegan desserts are a rarity, and the winning mousse — Vegan Delicious, with raspberry or chocolate flavour — will be the first of its kind to hit the shelves if the students decide to market their product.
“The project arose out of a very simple desire—that we’d like to be able to buy a vegan mousse in the shops. It hasn’t reached the shelves yet, but it has been a fantastic process creating a brand new product. The most important lesson we’ve learned is that you have to be persistent in pursuing your own ideas,” says Andrea Lauridsen, who is one of the four students behind Vegan Delicious.
The development of the dessert has taken place under the auspices of DTU’s innovation programme the Blue Dot project, where students spend three months working on a project from concept development to production and marketing.
The Blue Dot project presentations and exam closely resemble product presentations as part of the Ecotrophelia competition. Five teams participated in this year’s competition, and were assessed by judges from DTU Skylab FoodLab and DTU Food.
Finding the vegan alternatives with the right qualities
Andrea Lauridsen says that the innovative part of the project has involved finding good vegan products to replace the gelatine derived from boiled animal bones which is normally used in conventional mousses.
The water from the chickpeas, Aquafaba, can easily be whipped into a foam, but as the foam collapses after a short time, the challenge has been finding other ingredients to support it. The choice fell on the vegan jelly agent agar, which is extracted from seaweed, and the team managed to create a product which, unopened, can be kept in the fridge for 10 days and for five days after opening.
In the Vegan Delicious group’s 10-minute pitch for the Ecotrophelia competition, the students said they could buy 1,000 litres of aquafaba from Urtekram (Scandinavia’s largest organic wholesaler), and thus produce 50,000 desserts in the first year alone.
At the DTU competition, it was obvious that the vegan mousse had been well received by the three-judge jury panel, although one of them suggested the students reduce the amount of added sugar, because that is one of the parameters in the European Ecotrophelia competition. Here, the students will represent Denmark in October, and compete for a first prize totalling EUR 5,000.