Traditional ‘Kacholtu’ gets modern twist; cheese burst frozen mix launched under startup scheme
Solan based entrepreneur launches product under Nauni varsity’s technical guidance
The savoury seasonal corn dish of ‘Kachol’ or ‘Kacholtu’, mainly popular in Solan district, would soon become available throughout the year. Preeti Kashyap, a Solan based entrepreneur, with the technical guidance of the scientists of Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has recently launched a modern take of this traditional product as a frozen ready to cook food.
Preeti had joined the university in 2019 in the Department of Food Science and Technology (FST) for a one-year Diploma programme in Fruit and Vegetable Processing and Bakery products. While pursuing her diploma, Preeti took up her idea with the CM Start-Up Scheme of the state. On approval, she was allotted the Department of FST as her incubator to refine her idea and develop it into a marketable product. University scientists Dr Devina Vaidya and her team-Dr Manisha Kaushal and Anil Gupta, provided the scientific input in product development.
Preeti got the idea after seeing her grandmother prepare the traditional dish. As the availability of raw material was limited only to a few months, the product could only be made for fresh consumption. Her idea was to make the product available throughout the year in a modernized form. The traditional dish is prepared from fresh corn mixture, which was often steamed on tree leaves and served with ghee. The CM Startup Scheme gave her a platform to explore her idea. The product was recently launched by Dr Parvinder Kaushal, UHF Vice-Chancellor.
At UHF, Preeti did extensive testing to increase the shelf life of the product as earlier it was only available during the availability of corn. Thanking the University and the Department of Industries, She said that the mentors at the university helped her to solve the problem of binding and extend the shelf life to nine months as frozen food and that too without the use of any preservative or external flavours. Besides, several tests including moisture and sensory tests have also been undertaken to increase the quality of the final product. Preeti has now set up her company ‘Healthy Food Treasure’ and aims to make the product available in the market by the year-end. She is also in the process of testing sweet, lemon, garlic and fortified variants of the product.
Congratulating Preeti and university scientists on their achievement, Dr Parvinder Kaushal said, “It is very encouraging to see young entrepreneurs coming ahead to popularize traditional food items so that more and more people get to taste them. He added that the university is actively encouraging its students to take up entrepreneurship in the argi-horticulture and allied disciplines where they can utilize the knowledge gained at the university to transform people’s lives through their innovative and innovative products. Dr Kaushal added that the university regularly helps farmers and young entrepreneurs to establish new enterprises through the dissemination of information and transfer of technology and will continue to support such initiatives in the future as well.
Dr Manoj Vaidya, Nodal officer of the UHF Incubation centre informed that since the inception in 2017-18, the university has enrolled eight incubatees after a shortlist process. Two of the incubatees have managed to launch their product and set up their startup while the prototypes of three incubatees are in the final testing phase. The startup scheme of the Himachal Government envisages practical exposure, orientation training, entrepreneurial guidance and handholding to potential entrepreneurs whose projects are approved. Once a project is recommended by the host institution and approved by the empowered committee, monthly support is provided as a sustenance allowance for one year. The centres support startups and innovation by providing mentoring services, access to their labs, facilities on a free-of-cost basis.