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How School Catering Business is Taking Shape in India India food catering market is still at a nascent stage

By Anuj Sarin

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Until recently, moms and some dads across the country would get up at 6 am and make the "tiffin" for their children that would typically comprise parantha, sandwiches or even Maggi. If some parents wanted to get some extra sleep they would give INR 50 to their children for some junk food from the canteen.

As most urban families are going nuclear with both parents working, a tectonic shift is silently happening in the otherwise cacophonous household kitchen. Parents are now handing over the responsibility of providing their wards' meals to school authorities in lieu of a nominal fee to free themselves of the mundane tasks.

Need of the Hour -- A School Food Platform

Premium schools across the country have understood this need and have started to provide a meal facility for their students. However, burdened with the task of academics, extra-circular activities, routine administrative tasks and ever more demanding parents the schools have their hands full and work with vendors to provide food.

While most caterers, who cater to the schools, have evolved from wedding catering with oily and spicy taste being their forte, a few players have understood this to be a niche in itself. While providing meals that appeal to children's taste buds is important, doing so in a manner that is nutritious is the new demand of parents, which only a few players are truly addressing. Providing a side dish of ghiya doesn't count as nourishing food if the child doesn't touch it. Making nutritious menus interesting so that children eat is the real win.

Amalgamation of Health and Food

As the vendors evolve, health conscious parents will realize that schools and their vendors are better equipped at planning and preparing nourishing meals. Even parents having help at home will prefer the school meal system where the food is served hot and prepared sooner to the meal times.

Also, this is a great way for children to get introduced to world cuisines and also get a wide variety of food every single day. Schools are in a unique position to promote healthy eating habits and help ensure appropriate food and nutrient intake among students. It is the job of the vendor to recognize

that responsibility and partner with the schools who share this vision.

India food catering market is at a nascent stage. Mature markets such as the US witness stiff competitions from large players like Revolution Foods, which does 60 lakh meals a month, Red Rabbit, which does 40,000 meals a month and many other players.

With disposable incomes on the rise in the urban middle class, and focus on nutritious food more moms will be outsourcing their tiffin preparation to schools, which in turn will hire specialist vendors. Keep an eye out for some interesting developments in the near future!!
Anuj Sarin

Business Head of Tiffin’s Etc

Anuj Sarin is the Business Head of Tiffin’s Etc., a company that caters meals for students in private schools. Tiffin's Etc. has been catering nutritious food since 1990 and providing wholesome meals that are high in quality and taste.

Anuj Sarin is an MBA from IIM Indore with more than 8 years of Sales, Strategy and Technology experience working with MNCs. He later realized his calling was in the food business. He is now committed to his passion of delivering great-tasting, quality innovative food for school children and using his business acumen to achieve this vision.  

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