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Alleviating food hunger and reducing food waste with innovation

April 2024

Kavita Shukla, founder and CEO of The FRESHGLOW Co. is on a mission to alleviate hunger around the world with her invention FreshPaper, sheets infused with botanicals that keep produce fresh for longer.

Kavita Shukla, founder and CEO of The FRESHGLOW Co. (Photo: Courtesy of USPTO)

“Food waste is this massive and very overwhelming challenge, but it's actually something that every single one of us can start to address in our own homes,” Kavita says, noting how shocked she was when she first learned how much of the world’s food supply spoils every day. “The world's farmers actually grow enough food to feed everyone on the planet, but over 800 million people still go hungry every single day.”

While the food waste challenge is daunting, she also sees it as an opportunity to demonstrate how small innovations can make a big difference and how we can all play a part in tackling the problem. “I think food waste is a challenge that can feel really overwhelming, but what's also inspiring is that there are really small and simple interventions we can all make to start to reduce food waste. And that's something that, you know, I've been really encouraged to see innovators starting to look towards. We've been really excited that FreshPaper is helping people take on food waste in their own homes in a small and simple way.”

I think food waste is a challenge that can feel really overwhelming, but what's also inspiring is that there are really small and simple interventions we can all make to start to reduce food waste.

Her innovation journey started early. When visiting her grandmother in India as a 12-year-old, Kavita drank water believed to be contaminated, but thanks to her grandmother's homemade remedy, she didn't get sick. That got her thinking. She was intrigued and began studying her grandmother’s remedy and experimenting on her own and was able to determine why the remedy worked and how to replicate and advance its effects. She now uses this knowledge to prevent food spoilage and relieve hunger around the world. Her story of simple beginnings, innovation, and empowerment was the subject of a short film by Director Bryce Dallas Howard.

Shukla holds four U.S. patents and is a recipient of the biennial INDEX Design to Improve Life Award, the world’s largest prize for design.

Her product is used by farmers and families across the globe. Her company has also partnered with retailers such as Whole Foods and Walmart. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vogue, Oprah Magazine, Glamour, The Today Show, and CNN, and has been named among the Forbes “30 under 30” list and TIME Magazine’s "5 Most Innovative Women in Food".

Learn more about Kavita Shukla’s story.

The WIPO Magazine is intended to help broaden public understanding of intellectual property and of WIPO’s work, and is not an official document of WIPO. The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of WIPO concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. This publication is not intended to reflect the views of the Member States or the WIPO Secretariat. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by WIPO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.