Quality food produced through Six-sigma methodology at Akshaya Patra

What makes Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme (MDMP) world’s largest serving wholesome lunch? Is it the numbers? Over 1.6 million children. Or is it the demographic? 13,636 schools across 12 states in India. What truly makes MDMP, run by a non-profit organisation, large is that the meals served have become actual incentives for children in India to attend schools and achieve academic success. Children of all these government institutions don’t skip schools because of scrumptious lunch they get to relish.

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This large-scale impact, created with the help of charity donations, was made possible by streamlining a six-sigma methodology that goes into the cooking and serving of these meals every single day. The funds raised, for Mid-Day Meal Programme, help us fill over 1.6 million stomachs every day.

MDMP is like a high-scale project of a company 

Akshaya Patra functions like a private company by ensuring quality of production and delivery. The quality inspection, storage and preservation of raw materials follow the standards set by Food Safety Standards Act 2006 (FSSA); the rice is supplied by the Food Corporation of India (FCI); all the kitchens follow ‘First In, First Out’ and ‘First Expiry, First Out’ methods while using the raw materials for cooking. The vessels used for cooking are made of 304 grade stainless steel. Well-trained cooks and supervisors ensure quality control while cooking for these kitchens run by the top NGO that’s on a mission to feed the children.

Hope stories testify quality 

Children usually have the habit of skipping lunch, so engrossed they are in their games and sports. But beneficiaries of MDMP enthusiastically have their lunch every day and the prospect of a nutritious meal encourages them to come to school regularly. Several hope stories we came across over the years testify how MDMP has influenced the lives of the children positively.

Initiatives that draw accountability  

Akshaya Patra keeps a strict policy of transparency to maintain complete accountability of the quality of meals being served. The non-profit organisation often engages in several initiatives to involve the society so people are encouraged towards charity fundraising or donations for the cause of food and education. These events publicly involve the society and hold the non-profit organisation accountable for quality. 

Innovative kitchens that set benchmarks

When 100,000 meals are cooked in a single state-of-the-art centralised kitchen, repeated experiments can make it possible. So Akshaya Patra partnered with Innovation Alchemy for scaling up its kitchens without compromising on the quality. As a result, these centralised kitchens have become a subject of study and research. They have been featured on National Geographic channel’s India’s Mega Kitchens. You can read about them in the book God’s Own Kitchen.

Donors trust MDMP

 It’s the transparency of the MDMP scheme that makes prestigious companies and trusted brands often lend a helping hand in terms of charity donations and fundraising. In April 2017, SBI foundation donated a generous amount to the non-profit organisation and would be invested towards 1250 hot insulated vessels to keep food hot for 8-10 hours. The insulated hot boxes would be distributed amongst Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Guwahati and Nathdwara kitchens. Apart from organisations, Akshaya Patra allows individuals to contribute smaller amounts in sponsoring a child or in simply donating for the overall cause. Due to the generous charity donations and fundraising, Akshaya Patra is able to comply with quality and hygiene standards set every day in the Mid-Day Meal Programme.

 

A sneak-peek into Akshaya Patra’s mega kitchens that feed millions of children

Akshaya Patra Kitchens

Imagine 100,000 meals being cooked in a single kitchen under strict norms of hygiene and quality control. Akshaya Patra’s state-of-the-art centralised kitchens process these meals on a daily basis. Due to their standards of hygiene and technology, they have been featured in National Geographic Channel’s India’s Mega Kitchens as well.

The kitchens follow the six sigma methodology with a pre-scheduled menu and equipment that’s relevant to the specific region. For instance, North Indian kitchens have rice and dal cauldrons with roti making machines while South Indian kitchens have rice and sambar cauldrons.

Ensuring quality every day

The NGO’s kitchens ensure quality all through its centers in India right from the procurement of the raw material. The quality inspection, storage and preservation of raw materials follow the standards set by Food Safety Standards Act 2006 (FSSA); the rice is supplied by the Food Corporation of India (FCI); all the kitchens follow First in First Out and First Expiry First Out methods while using the raw materials for cooking.

All the vessels used during cooking are of stainless steel 304 food grade material. Well-trained cooks and supervisors ensure quality control during the cooking for these kitchens run by the top NGO that’s on a mission to feed the children.

Here are few photographs that give you a glimpse of our kitchens:

Big couldrons

Big Couldrons

Centralised Kitchens

Centralised Kitchens

Chopped Vegetables

Chopped Vegetables

Roti Cutting Machine

Roti Cutting Machine

The NGO also conducts training programmes for the cooking staff in various parts of India to make them aware and conscious that since they are feeding nutritious meals to the children, they need to be strict about personal hygiene. Akshaya Patra’s newest kitchen opened recently in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. The kitchen has the capacity to cook mid-day meals for 50,000 children. About 28,000 children from 57 government schools In Bhavnagar will be benefitted by Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals in the area. Now Akshaya Patra, as one of top NGOs in India, has 28 centralised kitchens and two de-centralised kitchens across India. The Akshaya Patra Foundation operates in 29 locations across 12 States in India feeding over 1.6 million children.