From science project to global solution: FreshPaper takes on food waste

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FreshPaper is a simple but powerful innovation that keeps food fresh for up to four times longer, in or out of the fridge. It started as a middle school science project inspired by an Indian home remedy, but now makes a huge impact on food waste in over 180 countries. Founder and inventor Kavita Shukla — a Dreamer on the List of People Shaping Retail’s Future 2017 — says it took her 10 years to even find the courage to take the first step with her idea, but now FRESHGLOW Co. is rapidly expanding both in size and scope.

On this episode of Retail Gets Real, she tells the story behind the product and the difference her company has made in global communities.

Shukla first took a handmade batch of FreshPaper into local farmers’ markets, hoping to help a few farmers preserve their fresh produce. It took her by surprise when consumers also lined up to buy the product. “I hadn't realized that even in my own backyard, people were struggling,” she says. “It was hard to afford eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables because they can be so expensive when they go bad.” Soon she was packaging FreshPaper for a range of audiences from farmers and consumers to food banks.

Kavita Shukla (center) chats with co-hosts Ana Serafin Smith (right) and Bill Thorne (left)

Kavita Shukla (center) chats with co-hosts Ana Serafin Smith (right) and Bill Thorne (left)

The next step for FreshPaper is its application for fish, meat and flowers. With the success of this signature product, the company is also exploring more ways to use organic botanicals for a range of solutions, including cleaning and skincare.

Shukla is energized by the prospects of the retail industry: “I get to be really inventive and creative,” she says. She looks for people with a range of skills to help take her “science project” to new heights — designing product packaging, working on launch strategy and moving into international markets.

Listen to the episode to hear the full story. For more great stories of inspiration and invention, subscribe to Retail Gets Real on your favorite podcast listening app, now including Spotify.

Ana Serafin Smith is a co-host on NRF’s Retail Gets Real podcast. Meet all the co-hosts and learn more about the show.

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