New Delhi, December 27: Passengers travelling by train will soon be getting ready-to-eat meals by the likes of Nestle instead of freshly cooked food. The move comes following the transporter’s decision to introduce pre-packaged food after several complaints on the quality of food being provided surfaced in the recent past. Under the new move, Nestle will be vending pre-packed food to passengers instead of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation cooked food.
According to a report in Financial Express, a railway ministry official said, “We are starting a pilot with Nestle (to serve ready-to-eat food) and have identified a couple of trains. These are not Rajdhanis or Shatabdis”. Nestle is believed to introduce new packs meant only for railways. The official further said that since the volume of food will be high, the prices may be negotiated.
Apart from Nestle, e-caterers such as Haldiram and Dominos are also to be approached. It has to be noted that ready-to-eat food is already being offered at the Firozpur Shatabdi. The railway official was further quoted saying by Financial Express saying, “In Firozpur Shatabdi, passengers have the option to choose ready-to-eat or freshly-cooked food at the cost already paid. Around 10-20% are opting for ready-to-eat meals”.
At present, IRCTC-authorised contractors cook food at their facilities. The Indian Railways is putting in all efforts to proliferate e-catering that can help passengers’ pre-order food from food chains to be delivered at selected stations. The report further states that the Ministry of Railways is also setting up 70-75 base kitchens across the country, of which 20-25 will become operational within this financial year.