When school starts, packing healthy, fresh lunches is top of mind for many parents. This year, in between the apples and bananas, some kids might find a piece of paper. FreshPaper is infused with organic spices that have natural bacteria-fighting properties to keep produce fresh.
Kavita Shukla, one of the product's inventors, said it's like a dryer sheet for fruits and vegetables, making them last two to four times longer.
"One really neat use is that a lot of moms started to put it in lunch boxes or in lunch bags. They said, 'You know, by the end of the day the peaches get mushy.' Or sometimes they wanted to give kids berries or things like that," Shukla said.
FreshPaper can be placed in refrigerators or fruit bowls to keep produce fresh.
With her invention, Shukla launched her Cambridge, MA-based company, Fenugreen, which identifies itself as a "mission-based social enterprise."
"For every pack we sell right now, we actually donate one to a local food bank," she said. "What's amazing is that we've been able to partner with some of these larger organizations without any brokers or distributors, because they really believe in our mission."
FreshPaper is sold in Whole Foods Markets (Nasdaq: WFM), Wegman's and several independent retailers and online.
Fenugreen was recently recognized as an Innovation Award Winner by the Social Venture Network. Shukla said she hopes her product can help reduce food waste worldwide.
"The world's farmers actually make enough food to feed the world, but because of spoilage, because of the inefficiencies in food distribution, 800 million people still go hungry every night," Shukla said.
According to the company, 25 percent of the world's food supply is lost to spoilage.
Kavita is scheduled to accept her SVN 2013 Innovation Award at SVN's 2013 Fall Conference, October 17-20 in Baltimore.