Inventor and company co-founder Kavita Shukla believes that, by keeping food fresher for longer in a sustainable way, Fenugreen FreshPaper has the potential to dramatically lower the price of farm-grown produce while having a positive impact on the environment.
A herbal remedy
The original idea was sparked fortuitously, when Kavita was visiting her grandmother in India and accidentally drank some unfiltered water: ‘To make sure I didn’t fall ill, she gave me spice tea, a home remedy for stomach ailments.’ The experience piqued Kavita’s curiosity and spurred her to conduct experiments when she returned to the US, where she realised that spices in her grandmother's tea were effective inhibitors of bacterial and fungal growth. So effective that she continued her research over a number of years to develop a food packaging application for it: FreshPaper.
Fresh food, longer life
Kavita is a born inventor. She filed her first patent at the age of 15 and had been creating little inventions for day-to-day chores since the age of five! ‘I’ve always wanted to invent things that could solve everyday problems and have an impact on society.’ FreshPaper is a simple invention that she believes will do just that, by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
It can be used to coat existing food packaging or to create packaging inserts, and its flexibility and low cost makes it a particularly viable solution for organic and local farmers.
It is this potential societal impact that has inspired Kavita to become an entrepreneur. ‘Even the best invention is useless if it just sits on a lab bench,’ she says. ‘The only way for an invention to have real impact is to bring it to market. By licensing the FreshPaper technology through my own company I can achieve that, while also adhering to my vision and values.’
Changing and saving lives
Kavita is constantly exploring broader applications for FreshPaper. The technology could be adapted to serve developing countries, where mortality related to food spoilage is a harsh reality. According to estimates established by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, a massive 25% of world food supply is lost due to microorganisms every year. In places with little or no refrigeration, low-cost food preservation could save lives. ‘Since FreshPaper doesn’t require extensive production infrastructure, we can make it in any environment at a very low cost.’ Kavita explains.
Congratulations to Kavita Shukla who was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the "30 under 30" Entrepreneurs!
FreshPaper by Kavita Shukla is one of the five INDEX: Award 2013 winners - the largest design prize in the world.
In 2013, Kavitha Shukla also won the Social Venture Network Innovation Award. Congratulations to her and the Fenugreen team!