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High Altitude Harvesting Ushers in Plant-Based Seabuckthorn & Momo Revolution

Amongst the towering peaks of the Himalayas, Kajol Sethia, a young Nepalese entrepreneur and recent Forbes 30 Under 30 listee, is transforming traditional cuisine with her innovative plant-based approach. Through her ventures, Vegan Dairy Nepal and Makalu, Sethia is championing a shift towards sustainable and cruelty-free food production, promoting both the welfare of animals and the empowerment of high-altitude communities with her Plant-Based Seabuckthorn & Momo products.

Kajol Sethia Founder - Vegan Dairy Nepal & Makalu

In 2018, Sethia ( shown left) founded Vegan Dairy Nepal after a transformative experience at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), where she was influenced by vegan peers and realised her passion for animal welfare. The company quickly became a focus for plant-based dairy alternatives across Nepal. However, it was the launch of her second venture, Makalu, that marked a significant turn in her entrepreneurial journey. This venture not only focuses on bringing local Nepalese products to a global audience but also supports the high-altitude farmers who cultivate them.

Sethia’s first product, a Sea Buckthorn Juice, leverages the wild berries harvested by resilient women farmers in high-altitude regions. Known for its high antioxidant content and health benefits, the juice is a testament to the harsh yet pure conditions under which it is produced. It is transported from altitudes above 4000 meters directly to markets, using helicopters instead of traditional animal labour, aligning with Sethia’s commitment to cruelty-free practices.

Source: Vegan Dairy Nepal - Slide Seabuckthorn juice, berries and farmer

Building on the success of the juice, Sethia introduced a truly Nepalese product marrying traditional cuisine with her sustainable ethos, the Frozen Plant-Based Momos. These momos are not just a nod to Nepal's culinary heritage but also a forward-thinking solution to dietary shifts towards plant-based eating. The momos are available in gluten-free options, catering to diverse dietary needs and preferences.

Source: Makalu Nepalese Plant-Based Momo

What drives Sethia is not just entrepreneurial spirit but a deep-seated desire to effect positive change. "Through Vegan Dairy Nepal, I aim to end animal cruelty, and through Makalu, I aspire to uplift Nepal’s high-altitude farmers and indigenous groups," says Sethia. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by her inclusion in the prestigious Forbes list.

The future looks promising for Sethia and her enterprises. With plans to expand her product range and distribution networks both locally and globally, she aims to make a lasting impact on the food industry and sustainability practices.

As more consumers worldwide turn towards healthier, 'Earth Friendly' diets, Sethia’s ventures are well-positioned to lead this global shift, proving even the highest mountains can be the starting point for global movements.

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