WHO: KAVITA SHUKLA
WHERE: Fenugreen, the company Shukla founded, produces FreshPaper, which can be purchased online or at Whole Foods and natural food stores. It is currently sold in 35 countries.
WHAT: Shukla holds four patents and has three others pending. A trip to India as a teenager inspired the idea for FreshPaper, made from inexpensive and biodegradable ingredients. Produce like meat and vegetables last twice to four times longer when wrapped in this environment-friendly paper. The breakthrough came when Shukla realized that a home remedy her grandmother had prescribed for a stomach ailment contained organic spices that prevent fungal and bacterial growth.
WHY: About a quarter of our food supply is lost to spoilage, leading to staggering energy and resource waste, and carbon dioxide emissions. In 2013, for her invention and contributions, Shukla (and Fenugreen) won the INDEX award for design (worth 500,000 euros); a TARGET & Sustainable Brands award; the Economist Disruptive Innovation award; a U.K. Eco-Design award; the Mothers of Invention award; and a Sustainia 100 honor. And she was selected for Newsweek’s “125 Women of Impact.”
WHAT else: “Kavita explained that FreshPaper does not have to contact the produce to be effective. ‘You just toss one sheet into your vegetable drawer or fruit bowl.’ When she went to Atlanta for Scholars Weekend and excitedly told her interview committee about her invention, they opened her eyes to FreshPaper’s potential to change how people eat all over the world. ‘They made me realize how FreshPaper could be really transformative and have a much greater impact than I’d understood up to that point.’”
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