Five minutes with Risha & Sumita Jindal

Five minutes with Risha & Sumita Jindal

As students, beans on toast was never going to be enough for sisters Sumita and Risha Jindal, nor were the meals they had learned from their parents.

Their frustration about how to make something delicious out of leftovers and pantry standards became the inspiration for Digimeal, the recipe app that inspires students to create meals using three key ingredients.

Inspired by a mission to ‘make anything from anything’, Digimeal helps users minimise food wastage and reduces reliance on unhealthy takeaways. The app has also partnered with Love Food Hate Waste, which aims to raise awareness of food waste, a celebrity chef and publisher Parragon, who share Digimeal’s vision to reduce UK food wastage.

“Technology can improve lives”

What excites me about technology is that just when you think we’ve reached a point where it can’t get any better, it does. That makes it seem as if it’s limitless. It’s an area that’s always growing and never seems to stop innovating. It is definitely a force to be reckoned with for the future.

“Apps have the potential to bring about substantial, positive transformation”

By aiming our app at students, it introduces habits and skills of how to cook and store food really early on, and they can then develop these skills for the rest of their lives. Students are a good place to start because they’ve just started living on their own so it’s a good time to learn about sustainable cooking and ingredients. We don’t have one specific mission because we value two sides of it. The first is to educate students and to inspire them to create better meals for themselves. The second is to reduce food waste by encouraging them to use leftovers to try to reduce the amount of food that is thrown away.

“I want technology to do more than just make everyday life easier”

Right now, a lot of technology is based on making everyday life easier. While this is good, some of these things do not need to be digitised. There are some things that you can do without technology. The next thing that technology does should be on a broader scale that isn’t just about affecting everyday life.

“A vibrant economy is one that is not stagnant but keeps on changing and evolving”

The UK has good foundations for a vibrant economy. There’s a lot of startup activity in the UK and there are always things that are working in favour of startups, namely, corporate accelerators. Startups are the key to innovation and I definitely see them as one of the UK’s foundations for a vibrant economy.

“I never thought that people would want to help me but was pleasantly surprised”

I was surprised by how many senior people actually wanted to help me when they saw that, as a young person, I wanted to achieve things well before they had been able to do so. My advice? Just go for it and get as many contacts as you can.

“People think technology and just think ‘coder’”

It’s hard to get past those traditional ideas of a developer who is someone who has a deep understanding of technological hardware. However, there are other aspects to technology that young people are perhaps not aware of. If there were more interest in the different sides of technology, there could be more young people getting involved in technology in the future. For a more vibrant UK there would need to be a widening of people’s focus and understanding of other jobs out there – jobs that you may not go to careers fair and find out about. If there were an easier way for people to know about other career choices, I believe that would lead to a more vibrant economy.

“Young people don’t know where to go if they want to get involved in technology”

After I got involved in The Duke of York Award for Technical Education, I was exposed to a lot more programmes that are available to young people. There is a good foundation of enterprises and institutions that actually want to help young people in technology but there could definitely still be more available. I don’t think enough people understand how to pursue a career in the technology sector. This is due to a lack of knowledge about what’s out there but also because young people are not really exposed to [technology] in a way where they can infiltrate it.

“Companies want to invest in their own companies rather than any other area”

That’s natural but as big companies have the turnover to be able to realise their social aims, more needs to be done to get them to commit. There is an element of their aims not being universal and often their budgets aren’t being used as well as they could be to better the social world rather than just the business world. However, I do think that it’s straightforward for a corporation to partner with a charity, and to get their workers involved in some kind of sustainable act. If the big names of the UK economy start doing this, it will transfer down to smaller businesses.

“I’m optimistic for young people and UK enterprise”

There is definitely an atmosphere of positivity around young people and their contributions to UK enterprise. If we can get schools to do more, such as bringing in ‘enterprise week’ once a year, or by drafting in entrepreneurs as visiting speakers, then we will be able to build on the great things that are already happening.