Why not centre consumers in the agrifood business, using their input to create new products? That was the idea of the EIT Food Consumer Engagement Lab organised with seniors in Extremadura (Spain), an experimental initiative based on the concept of “Design Thinking" based on a methodology developed by University of Warsaw. Over two sessions, a group of 20 seniors met with a selection of stakeholders from the agrifood sector, including Inura (The University of Extremadura Institute of Agronomic Resources), food businesses Iberitos and Lider Aliment; Hinepa - Asociación Internacional de Atención a la Persona, and the innovation agency Brain CO. The encounter produced amazing results. Just a few short months later, the group created and brought to market two new, gluten-free products: a tuna and piquillo pepper pâté and a cream of ceps with truffle.
As well as idea-sharing, the process of bringing forth the two new products involved a viability and market study, during which another six product ideas fell by the roadside. The two selected products are being brought to market by Iberitos, as producer, and Lider Aliment, as Spar retailer, and are currently available at eight supermarkets across Extremadura: in Badajoz, Mérida, Almendralejo, Castuera, Don Benito, Villanueva de la Serena and Zafra.
Tuna with Peppers Pâté and Cream of Ceps with Truffle
As the creators explain, tuna and piquillo peppers is an unusual combination on the market, but not in Spanish homes. It is both tasty and healthy, with the advantage that it is “more practical than making it at home”, allowing cooks to “cut down on ingredients and food waste”. The cream of ceps with truffle has been designed to pair with meat, as a “little treat” for lovers of intense flavours. Both products are supplied in glass jars, which make it easier to check their preservation status and are also reusable, testimony to the growing environmental awareness among seniors. The products hit the shelves in late March, under the Iberitos brand and carrying the EIT Food label.
Eduvigis Campos, one of the seniors who took part in the experience, described the sessions as “very interesting and enjoyable”, adding that they provided an opportunity to share her cooking skills and food habits with others. It was also a “break from routine”, something that she described as “very important to keep the mind and the body active.”
The pilot experience took place simultaneously in Spain, Portugal, Poland and Lithuania. Based on the success of the project, EIT Food now plans to replicate it in another six countries this year: Italy, Greece, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia.