Food and Education

Akshaya Patra Kitchens – Maximising the Impact of Mid-Day Meals

akshaya patra kitchen

Akshaya Patra is an NGO that feeds nutritious mid-day meals to over 2.2 million children across 16 states and two union territories as the implementing partner of the government’s PM POSHAN Abhiyaan (Mid-Day Meal Scheme). If we are able to reach out to so many children every school day, it is because of the robust network of state-of-the-art kitchens that we have established over the years. It’s the scale and operational efficiency of these kitchens that help us play a crucial role in maximising the impact of government’s PM POSHAN Abhiyaan and other nutrition welfare initiatives.

State-of-the-art Centralised Kitchens

A centralised kitchen typically helps manage operations from a single point of control, which include receiving and storage of raw materials, preparation and delivery of food as well as maintenance. Akshaya Patra’s state-of-the-art kitchens have the capacity to undertake largescale feeding, typically up to 100,000 mid-day meals a day, whilst ensuring safe handling, preparation and delivery.

We use large and specialised equipment, such as cauldrons, trolleys, rice chutes, etc., at our kitchens to prepare food in huge quantities, which, in turn, helps us feed significantly more children than school kitchens. Our kitchens enjoy a greater economy of scale-reductions in unit cost as the size of a facility and usage levels of systems and equipment increase. As a result, these kitchens are known for their cost advantage. Several of these units are ISO 22000:2005 certified and have won prestigious awards, such as the CII National Award for Food Safety.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems further boost the enormous production capacity of our centralised kitchens by facilitating better monitoring of every part of the production pipeline, from inventory to costing to logistics. Similarly, procurement systems such as the Supplier Quality Management System (SQMS) with sub-processes such as Supplier Selection, Supplier Qualification, Supplier Rating, etc., help ensure that the best quality raw material is procured. Furthermore, methods like logistic charting for route optimisation and GPS tracking of delivery vehicles help ensure safe and on-time delivery of mid-day meals to the school every day.

Innovating to Serve Better – Roti-making Machines

As an NGO in the MDM feeding space, we have always strived to adhere to local palate and regional acceptability. Our kitchens help us in this context by fostering innovation in technology and recipes. In 2002, for instance, we introduced our first-of-a-kind roti-making machine. This roti-making machine, with the capacity to prepare 10,000 rotis per hour, helped us cater to the needs of children in North India, where the menu is predominantly wheat-based. Over the years, we have fine-tuned these machines. Today, the roti-making machines in Akshaya Patra kitchens help dish out 60,000 rotis per hour.

Adherence to Recipes

Our kitchens enable large-scale food preparation and ensure strict adherence to recipes through automated systems to consistently maintain taste and quality, thus improving the consumption of meals among children. The menu is designed in such a manner that children automatically get their daily intake of necessary nutrients. Furthermore, we have set up New Product Development Centres (NPDC) to help us enhance the school feeding programme by developing new recipes and opting for in-recipe modifications.


At Akshaya Patra, we are working towards making our kitchens more sustainable. We have adopted various green measures to navigate challenges related to energy use and waste management, ranging from using solar energy and integrating Electric Vehicles (EVs) in our fleet of delivery vehicles to adopting low-cost and high-impact initiatives like rainwater harvesting. We have committed to transitioning to 50% renewable energy and adopting 50% electric vehicles (EVs) in our delivery fleet by 2035. Our goal is to mitigate the effect of hunger on future generations through a sustainable, environment-friendly approach.

As pointed out in the Harvard Case Study, the centralised kitchen model has the benefits of scale and the ability to feed more children at low cost. But its benefits go well beyond that. For instance, the centralised approach works as far as accountability is concerned because thousands of meals are prepared at one location with due adherence to safety and hygiene and the whole process is monitored with due diligence. Similarly, it reduces the burden on teachers who are overburdened by the pressure of managing mid-day meals and executing teaching and other administrative duties.

In a country like India, with a massive population of 1.4 billion people, it is imperative to ensure that nutrition-based welfare programmes, such as the PM POSHAN Abhiyaan or ICDS Anganwadi feeding initiative, reach as many beneficiaries as possible; centralised kitchens can play a pivotal role in making this possible.

Akshaya Patra has been working in the MDM space for the last 23 years and has cumulatively served over 4 billion meals. If you are looking for a credible NGO to support, you can join Akshaya Patra’s efforts to feed the children a nutritious mid-day meal to support their health and education.

Tags : Akshaya Patra KitchensMidday Meal SchemeNGO in India

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