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Indian meal project Akshaya Patra teams up with Accenture to use blockchain to fight hunger

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a Bangalore-based non-profit organization that implements mid-day meal schemes in India to fight hunger, has collaborated with Accenture to use disruptive technologies like blockchain to enhance and increase the number of meals served.

The project will make use of blockchain technology along with artificial intelligence and the Internet of Thing in order to drive efficiency and timeliness of the ‘Million Meals’ lunch program in government schools across India.

The ‘Million Meals’ project revolutionized Akshaya Patra’s supply chain and operations and has resulted in improved food quality and expanded service reach, the release stated. The project demonstrates how nascent technologies like blockchain can address the challenges in mass food production and delivery.

“It is indeed heartening to see big players in technology like Accenture come forward to lend their expertise and help to address societal challenges like hunger through the innovative use of technology. This initiative not only enhanced efficiency while giving a boost to our operations, but ensured that quality standards are met while increasing the number of meals served. We aim to expand our reach to millions of more children with the help of such technologies,” Shridhar Venkat, CEO, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, said.

Accenture’s research and development arm ‘Accenture Labs’ has executed the project for past six months in Akshaya Patra’s Bengaluru kitchen. The project’s analysis showed a potential to improve its efficiency by 20 percent, which could boost the number of meals served by millions.

Accenture Labs worked on the project with strategic assessment and design thinking. It developed a prototype by applying technologies for improving kitchen operations and four critical processes that include collecting school feedback, tracking food delivery, measuring the quantity of food and supplies to be purchased, and monitoring meal production.

“Accenture Labs was excited to take up the challenge that every money saved in producing a single meal can result in additional meals being served to children. We thought this was an ideal proving ground to put the combined power of AI, IoT and blockchain to use,” Sanjay Podder, managing director, Accenture Labs, Bengaluru, said.

Akshaya Patra used blockchain technology and sensor-enabled devices for gathering feedback digitally and leveraged AI technologies to predict the next day’s meal requirements. The team also used IoT sensors to monitor and sequence the cooking process to ensure optimum energy consumption and consistent food quality.

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