It sounds like the stuff of late-night infomercials: A “revolutionary” new organic product, made from ancient Indian herbs that inventor Kavita Shukla discovered on a visit to her grandmother, promises to significantly reduce food spoilage.
But, according to Harvest Food Co-op spokesperson Chris Durkin, Fenugreen is for real. Harvest is now selling a Fenugreen product called FreshPaper, a paper liner that can be inserted into food packages to prevent spoilage.
Durkin was quoted in a press release from Fenugreen saying, “We were approached by Fenugreen and immediately saw the potential of this low-cost, low-tech, energy efficient solution to retard food spoilage,”
In an email to the Gazette, Durkin confirmed that Harvest tested Fenugreen’s FreshPaper on a package of blueberries. Compared to a control, FreshPaper-free blueberry carton, “the difference was significant,” he said.
“Yes, it works,” Durkin said.
“Fenugreen works by inhibiting bacterial/fungal growth as well as enzymes that cause food breakdown, and has about 75 percent the effectiveness of refrigeration without associated energy or infrastructure costs,” Fenugreen’s press release said.
Harvest is currently carrying the product at its Cambridge store and plans to start carrying it at its JP store soon, Durkin told the Gazette.
Fenugreen describes the product only as “a patented, all-natural formula made entirely of botanical extracts,” but say that, “the proprietary liquid Fenugreen Formula can be applied to food packaging…or directly to fruits and vegetables.”
Dr. Swaroop Samant, a co-founder of Fenugreen, told the Gazette that one of the ingredients in the formula is the popular Middle Eastern seasoning fenugreek.
He said the company is marketing the product to small retailers and local farmers. One of the advantages of the all-natural product is that it can be used with organic produce, he said.