Sensing huge potential in the online food delivery space, the Freedom Food Factory – the enterprise selling food prepared by inmates at Kerala’s prisons – has decided to tie-up with Swiggy, an industry giant, to break new ground. The initiative will be initially rolled out of the Viyyur Central Jail in Thrissur. At present, food such as the likes of biryani, roti and curries are sold only from the counter in front of the prison.
Nirmalanandan Nair, the superintendent of the Viyyur central jail, told indianexpress.com that the idea germinated from Rishiraj Singh, the popular IPS officer currently serving as DGP in charge of jails and correctional services in the state. Nair said Singh was of the opinion that since the food prepared by jail inmates was popular among the public for its taste and value for money, it must be taken further to those sitting at home through the online delivery system.
While the over-the-counter system will continue in front of the Viyyur jail, officials have devised a special menu for online delivery. Titled the ‘Freedom Combo Lunch’, it includes 300 grams of biryani rice, a roasted chicken leg piece, 3 rotis, 1 chicken curry, pickle, salad, a bottle of mineral water and a cup cake for dessert. The combo, priced at an attractive Rs 127, comes packed with a plantain leaf as well.
“We will start the online delivery system on July 11 and will see how it goes. Our initial plan is to sell about 100 combos a day. If there’s more demand, we will increase supply. Swiggy said their men can deliver the food in a six-kilometre radius of the prison,” said Nair, over phone.
At present, the jail sells around 25000-30000 rotis, 500-600 chicken biryanis and 300 vegetable and chicken curries a day through its counter. The food is prepared solely by around 100 male inmates who are classified into different teams cooking different items. They are supervised by prison officials for round-the-clock quality control. Recently, a spanking new kitchen, built at a cost of Rs 50 lakh with state-of-the-art appliances, was inaugurated at the Viyyur jail.
Contact numbers are provided on food packets to get feedback from the public. The inmates are paid wages to the tune of Rs 150 per day for their work and revenue from the food business goes into refurbishing and maintenance of the jails.