Wednesday, April 10, 2013

FreshPaper featured by Design to Improve Life!

A simple sheet of paper makes refrigerators obsolete

25% of the world’s food supply is lost to spoilage. This enormous, yet often overlooked, global challenge is addressed with a simple innovation; FreshPaper. Developed by Fenugreen, FreshPaper can keep fruits and vegetables fresh for 2-4 times longer. This biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable piece of paper has the potential to change how the world keeps its food fresh.
Fenugreen FreshPaper, FreshPaper, Fresh Paper, Design to Improve Life, INDEX Award
Fenugreen FreshPaper

Everyone knows all too well the frustrating feeling of finding strawberries, mushrooms or other produce covered in a delicate cotton-like coat of mold; often these are perishables fresh and ripe only 24 hours before! By that point, the only thing to do is to discard said produce, and although this may seem like an innocent everyday inconvenience, its consequences are monumentally vast. According to a study conducted by The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (upon request from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, amounting to a staggering 1.3 billion tons (and $450 billion in losses) annually - this includes the aforementioned batch of strawberries gone bad.
Inevitably, the waste extends far beyond the food itself, and into most resources that come to mind. The likes of land, water and energy, having gone into the production of anything one can come across inside of the average refrigerator, all in vain. Even greenhouse gas emissions aside, which, by the way, also take their fair share of the squander, such waste imposed by the biological clocks of the products, is quite shameful in the context of global food shortages and starvation.

Kavita Shukla, a young inventor and designer happened to come across an old recipe after accidentally drinking some tap water while visiting her grandmother in India. Her grandma gave her a home remedy – a mixture of spices, which kept her from getting sick. After years of research and development, (starting with a middle school science project), Kavita discovered a new application of her grandmother’s generations-old home remedy - a remarkably effective way to keep food fresh called FreshPaper.

Produced by Shukla’s company, Fenugreen, FreshPaper is a simple sheet of paper infused with organic spices; amongst others – fenugreek, which inspired the company’s name. This ingeniously simple idea has the properties to keep fruits and vegetables two to four times longer without spoil! As it turns out, Kavita’s grandmother’s recipe inhibits bacterial and fungal growth, along with degradative enzymes. As for usage, FreshPaper only need be placed wherever the produce is stored, which it is to protect. The design is a remarkable way of re-thinking, re-purposing and re-combining an old tradition with industrial knowledge into an easy to use everyday consumer product for everyone.

Shukla’s solution addresses one of the world’s most pressing challenges – one that leaves not a single part of the globe unaffected. As well as being incredibly simple, FreshPaper is also affordable, imposing no restrictions in terms of the users’ wallets or skills. Fenugreen, making good on their motto “fresh for all”, also, pledges to match every purchased pack of FreshPaper with another donated to a food shelter. Not only this, but the solution is also intended for users in the developing world, where refrigeration is a luxury, thus making a great attempt at providing food security to those who need it most. Now, imagine if it was used in supermarkets and packaging!

Article available online:

FreshPaper in Entrepreneur Magazine!

Fenugreen FreshPaper, Fresh Paper, Entrepreneur Magazine
 Fresh Idea:

TheUnlikely Inspiration Behind Food-Saver FreshPaper

By the time she was 17 years old, Kavita Shukla held multiple patents. Today, she is the 27-year-old CEO of Fenugreen and inventor of its core product FreshPaper, a technology that aims to keep fruits and vegetables fresh for longer. 

Inspiration struck in an unlikely place: a tooth-brushing accident while visiting her grandmother in India, an experience that has shaped her core business philosophy.

No idea is too simple, Shukla said today at the Women in the World Summit, where she was honored as a "mother of invention." The annual conference in New York is hosted by Newsweek and the Daily Beast and gathers some 2,500 attendees, including A-listers like Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Shukla shared her startup success story and lessons for other aspiring inventors.

At 13, Shukla accidentally drank the water while brushing her teeth at her grandmother's home in India -- a recipe for disaster in a country with notoriously unsafe tap water. As a remedy, her grandmother mixed up a batch of herbs and spices. She didn't get sick. When she returned home to the U.S., Shukla started experimenting with those same spices as part of a middle-school science project and discovered the combination was a potent inhibitor for bacterial growth.

A few years later, when she was a senior in high school, FreshPaper was born. It is a simple sheet of paper lauded as a "dryer sheet" for produce. Put a piece of FreshPaper where you store your fruit and vegetables, and they will stay fresh up to four times longer, the company promises.

Last year, Shukla launched FreshPaper in a local farmers market in Boston. It rapidly gained attention through word of mouth and is now sold in 35 countries. While she initially imagined that the paper would be most useful in the developing world, as 1.6 billion people globally live without proper refrigeration, the product is increasingly popular in the U.S. and recently became available at Whole Foods.

"I didn't realize [food spoilage] was a big issue in the U.S.," said Shukla. "I was really amazed by the response. People said things like, 'FreshPaper makes it possible for me to eat healthier and for me to afford fresh healthy fruits and vegetables.' Now, we actually donate FreshPaper to local food banks."

The next major step is to engage with farmers, both in the U.S. and in the developing world. If she could get FreshPaper in their hands, Shukla believes they could stop a great deal of food spoilage at the source and create more access to healthy food for people around the world. Fenugreen has already worked with farmers in Malawi and Haiti and hopes to expand.

Shukla offered these three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Simplicity is valuable.
"FreshPaper is powerful because it's so simple," Shukla said. "Simple ideas are the ones that have the power to change things because they can be used by everyone, everywhere around the world."

A good idea doesn't have to be trendy.
"Believe in your idea," said Shukla. The next big thing doesn't need to be a fancy mobile technology or app. You never know how your idea will connect with others until you test it out.

Inspiration is everywhere.
"I often think [of] what would have happened if I hadn't drank my grandma's mixture, or dismissed it," Shukla said. Don't be afraid to play and experiment. Her grandmother's potion may as well have been magic, she said. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

FreshPaper at Women in the World -- featured in the Daily Beast!

Fenugreen FreshPaper, Fresh Paper, Daily Beast, Women in the World Summit

Fenugreen FreshPaper, Fresh Paper, Daily Beast, Women in the World Summit


It’s Not Paper, It’s Empowerment: How Kavita Shukla’s Invention Can Fight Poverty

By Nina Strochlic, Apr 5, 2013

It’s a piece of paper that could take a serious bite out of world hunger—and it was invented by a 17-year-old.

Fenugreen FreshPaper, Fresh Paper, Daily Beast, Women in the World Summit, Kavita Shukla, Rula Jebreal, MSNBCAt age 17, as a senior in high school, Kavita Shukla filed for her second patent: a piece of paper that would transform how food is stored and kept fresh. Ten years later, her product is being used in 35 countries, has been called “the miracle paper” by The Washington Post, and was recently launched in Whole Foods. FreshPaper is infused with organic spices that inhibit bacterial and fungal growth; when stored with produce, it can keep food fresh two to four times longer than normal—like refrigeration without electricity. The spice mixture comes from an old family recipe passed along by Shukla’s grandmother, who once gave it to her after she accidentally drank tap water on a visit to India. “Drink this and you won’t get sick,” she was told.

On Friday, Shukla was joined onstage at the Women in the World Summit in New York by Rula Jebreal, a host and foreign-policy expert at MSNBC. Jebreal lamented the fact that while the world’s farmers actually produce enough food to feed the world’s hungry, 1.3 billion tons of food are lost annually to spoilage. What’s more, some 1.6 billion people currently living without access to refrigeration struggle to keep their diets healthy. Shukla’s company, Fenugreen, which she started in 2010, targets these people, along with food banks and small-scale farmers. “For so many people, this was about so much more than a piece of paper,” she said. “It was about empowerment.”

“Don’t ever discount your own simple idea.”

Jebreal praised a low-tech solution in an era when many innovators are relying on high-tech innovation. “What if I had dismissed it as too simple?” Shukla asked. “Simple ideas are the ones that have the power to change things ... and they have the power to spread.” For FreshPaper, simplicity meant accessibility, which was key to ensuring the product reached anyone who could benefit from it.

As the discussion drew to a close, Shukla reminded inventors everywhere that complicated isn’t always better: “Don’t ever discount your own simple idea.”

Article available online:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Oprah, Hillary, Angelina, Meryl, and...FreshPaper (!)

Friends of Fenugreen,
We're excited to announce that FreshPaper will be featured at the 2013 Women in the World Summit at the Lincoln Center, April 4-5th.
Fenugreen FreshPaper at Women in the World Summit
Fenugreen Inventor & Founder, Kavita Shukla, will be speaking at the summit along with Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Barbara Walters, Diane von Furstenberg, Ambassador Melanne Verveer and many other inspiring leaders, advocates & innovators.

Hosted by Newsweek & The Daily Beast, the Women in the World Summit will "explore the global issues behind the news through narratives of courageous, indomitable pioneers from disparate cultures who are fighting for the rights of women and girls." Kavita will be honored as a "Mother of Invention" for her work on FreshPaper. Please join us for this unique event in New York City or by tuning in to the livestream on April 5th at 9 AM EST.

It has been an incredible journey - your support has taken FreshPaper from our local farmer's markets to the global stage. In the last month, we've seen FreshPaper featured by The Financial Times & Organic Gardening, as one of the "Top 5 Products" at the world's largest natural products expo, at gatherings of food leaders & global brands, and as a "game-changing, disruptive innovation" by The Economist.

You’ve been with us every step of the way, and made us believe that a simple idea really can take on a massive global challenge. Thank you so much.

Together, we’re getting closer to “Fresh for All.”
The Fenugreen Team
PS – Want to learn more about what’s fresh at Fenugreen? Take a look below...

Fenugreen FreshPaper featured by The Economist
Breaking News!
A few days ago, FreshPaper was showcased at The Economist's Innovation Conference in Berkeley, California (selected out of nearly 2000 innovations from around the world)! After an intense "Shark Tank" style grilling by renowned investors Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Naveen Jain of The World Future Institute & Debbie Brackeen of Citi Ventures in front of a live audience, we were shocked to hear that FreshPaper was selected as both the audience favorite & the judges' choice for the 2013 The Economist-InnoCentive Award. It was amazing to share FreshPaper with so many thought-leaders and journalists, and we look forward to being back in the Bay Area soon.

Fenugreen FreshPaper Founder & Inventor
Fenugreen in New York
We were thrilled to be invited back to TEDxManhattan - Changing the Way We Eat at the New York Times Center to share an update about how TEDxManhattan took our simple idea to places we could never have imagined. Our Inventor & Founder, Kavita, spoke about our grassroots growth and the launch of our “Buy a Pack, Give a Pack” Program. (You can watch all the talks -- including White House Chef Bill Yosses, Stonyfield CEO Gary Hirshberg, and our update -- at this link). The night before, TEDxManhattan attendees took a behind-the-scenes tour of the new American Museum of Natural History exhibit about food - "Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture" explores the complex and intricate food system that brings what we eat from farm to fork. (Definitely worth checking out! You can watch this interview with some of the attendees, including Kavita, for a sneak peek.)

We also had a wonderful time at the 2013 Green Biz Forum in Times Square, NYC where Kavita shared FreshPaper’s story as part of the "One Great Ideas" series featuring sustainable business leaders including Robin Chase, Co-Founder of Zipcar and Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. (You can watch the video of the talk here). This year’s forum brought together leaders in business and government, seeking to bring sustainable practices to some of the world's largest organizations.

Fenugreen FreshPaper Founders
FreshPaper’s West Coast Debut at NPEW
FreshPaper made its West Coast debut and was selected as one of the Fenugreen FreshPaper Mascot"Top 5 Products to See" (out of thousands!) at Natural Products Expo West, the world's largest natural/organic exhibition! With a record attendance of 63,000+ this year, it was also a record-setting day at our booth with many new folks stopping by (including some young fans!) We were amazed by the warm reception from stores & customers alike, and FreshPaper will soon be available in a several new locations throughout the country (click here to find a store near you)!

The Word Continues to Spread...(thanks to you!)
The Financial Times just featured our Founder, Kavita, as one of 6 notable entrepreneurs who had an "early start," along with Warren Buffett, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the Founder of Ikea!
FreshPaper was also recently featured by Organic Gardening Magazine (currently on newsstands!), Malibu Magazine and the Mother Nature Network and was named one of the “Top 50 Great Ideas” by Restaurant Magazine!

Whew...that's all for now! It’s been an overwhelming few weeks, but we’re grateful for your support & excited about what comes next -- we're working to get FreshPaper to our local food banks and very soon, to farmers in need across the globe.
Fenugreen FreshPaper Mission

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The American Museum of Natural History just opened an amazing new exhibit about food - "Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture" explores the complex and intricate food system that brings what we eat from farm to fork.

Fenugreen's Inventor & Founder recently took a backstage tour with TEDxManhattan...check out the video below for highlights!