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In the second of our three-part series on social entrepreneurs, Enactus Aryabhatta – led by students at Aryabhatta College, Delhi University, the team tells us why Project Utkarsh is integral to its mission to build socially, economically and environmentally sustainable communities.

The spectacular efforts of these entrepreneurs have helped us save over 90,000 gallons of water and prevent 1,200 kilograms of food waste.

What is Project Utkarsh?

In a world grappling with hunger, a significant amount of vegetable peels and fruit pulps remain unused and gradually go to waste despite their nutritional value. In addition to the problem of food waste, unhealthy snacking habits cannot be disregarded. Nowadays many people, regardless of age, have developed a habit of munching on unhealthy snacks leading to bad health. Recognising the pernicious impact of these issues, Project Utkarsh emerged as a transformative solution. In light of the aforementioned harmful habits, Project Utkarsh, by manufacturing VEGGITOS- a healthier snacking alternative, not only tackles the problem of food wastage but promotes clean eating habits among the younger generation by using healthy ingredients like vegetable peels and maize flour. Veggitos come in three appetising flavours: carrot, spinach, and beetroot. Besides this project, Utkarsh has also provided new avenues to over 50 underprivileged women enabling them to attain a sustainable livelihood. These talented women entrepreneurs excel in the art of cooking, and through Project Utkarsh, they can leverage their skills to earn a living and conquer. The spectacular efforts of these entrepreneurs have helped us save over 90,000 gallons of water and prevent 1,200 kilograms of food waste. Furthermore, they have generated a revenue of over Rs.7,20,000 so far. With our concerted efforts, today Utkarsh’s delectable taste has spread across five states.

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Why the focus on good nutrition?

Project Utkarsh places a strong emphasis on promoting good nutrition aligning with the third sustainable development goal of ‘ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages’. This is achieved by offering a healthier alternative to fried potato chips through Veggitos, a nutritious baked snack. It contains ingredients abundant in vitamins, fibre, and antioxidants, which contribute to boosting the immune system and enhancing skin health. Additionally, Project Utkarsh addresses sustainable development goal 12 ‘to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’. Unsustainable patterns of consumption and production are significant contributors to climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Project Utkarsh tackles these issues by utilising nutritious food that would otherwise go to waste. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition among people of the vital importance of proper nutrition in preserving optimal health and well-being. Nowadays, many young individuals tend to consume unhealthy snacks when they feel hungry, which not only contributes to weight gain but also heightens the risk of chronic ailments. However, Project Utkarsh aims to counter this issue by utilising nutritious ingredients such as leftover vegetables and fruits, thereby promoting healthier snacking alternatives.

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How tasty are Veggitos?

Veggitos, the delightful snack, is a truly versatile and unique option for those seeking both a pleasurable snacking experience and a healthy lifestyle. With flavours like carrot, spinach, and beetroot, we offer a diverse range of tastes to cater to varying taste palettes. Each variant of our chips boasts an exceptional and distinct taste, ensuring an alluring option for everyone. What sets these munchies apart is their remarkable ability to effortlessly combine guilt-free munching sessions with a conscious emphasis on nutrition. To further enhance the flavours, one can sprinkle some added masala on top. This extra touch elevates the flavours and adds a delightful kick to each bite. They can also be paired with an assortment of dips, expanding the taste possibilities. The versatility of Veggitos allows you to experiment and create unique flavour combinations. The crispness adds a satisfying crunch to each bite, making the snacking experience even more enjoyable. Whether in search of a flavoursome and nourishing snack option or an exploration of exquisite taste fusions, Veggitos undeniably prove to be a gratifying and pleasurable choice.

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Tell us about the unique cooking abilities of the women involved

These women entrepreneurs possess exceptional cooking abilities. With accurate precision, they effortlessly measure the exact amount of ingredients which guarantees the ideal balance in each batch of Veggitos they create. Their extraordinary skill lies not only in developing mouth-watering flavours but also in ensuring that the food retains its nutritious worth even after being baked to absolute perfection. They adhere to tight rules, ensuring a safe and hygienic cooking procedure. However, their abilities don’t end there; they are not constrained to a particular flavour. Not only have they developed their talents to expertly create a variety of distinct flavours, but they are also skilled at using a variety of kitchen tools and appliances. What distinguishes these women is the persistent positivity, commitment, and love they put into each batch of Veggitos they make. Our women entrepreneurs have refined their methods throughout the years, mastering the skill of preparing exquisite meals that tempt the taste buds and leave an impact. They create savoury wonders that amuse the senses by carefully balancing the ingredients in their recipes. Beyond their skills as chefs, these ladies are masters of kitchen management, expertly coordinating a symphony of flavours, time, and accuracy. Every dish they make reflects their love for cooking, capturing flavours as well as the heart.

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What next for Project Utkarsh?

For the upcoming phase, Project Utkarsh has outlined several important goals. To satisfy consumer demand for sleeker products, it first seeks to manufacture a batch of chips that is somewhat thinner. Second, the project wants to increase consumer happiness by extending the freshness and quality of its chips’ shelf life. Project Utkarsh intends to revamp its packaging to provide a more appealing, user-friendly, and sustainable product for customers to improve their experience. Additionally, Project Utkarsh wants to explore new businesses and market segments, such as releasing chutneys and expanding its product line. The project also includes moving from a direct-to-consumer model to a business-to-business (B2B) strategy, employing personal selling techniques to build strong relationships with retailers and distributors. These initiatives demonstrate Project Utkarsh’s dedication to market expansion and constant improvement.

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Written By

Susan is the co-founder of Innovators Magazine and a consultant for OnePoint5Media. Susan is also a member of the UNFCCC-led Resilience Frontiers Nexus group and the Chair of the APOPO Foundation UK board.

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