Updates from Janta Meals CEO Jesse van de Zand

In Gurgaon (India), Jesse is becoming an icon. With his social business Janta Meals, he daily prepares 15,000 affordable hygienic and nutritious meals for the Indian working class. This week he paid us a visit in Rotterdam. A great moment for a recap of all his recent adventures in India.

From Issue to Idea: Janta Meals addressing malnutrition in India

India is struggling with malnutrition rates. The Indian working class living in urban slums are normally rely on dhabas (roadside vendors) or food from home. Most of the times meals are prepared in an unhygienic way using unhealthy ingredients. Healthy food is too expensive for most of the people.

Janta MealsPhoto: Michal Salaban

In 2013 Jesse went to India as an employee of Enviu to work on a pilot to solve the malnutrition issues in Indian slums. During the pilot he set up two restaurants catering affordable, nutritious and hygienic meals in Indian slums.

big_img4Photo: Outlook Business

The first pilot was successful and soon got the attention from local investors. From that moment things went fast. In the last three years, he set up another seventeen outlets in Gurgaon (India) and now caters to factories and schools as well.

Supporting people in need in Bundelkhand

In addition to the restaurants in Gurgaon, Janta Meals is expanding its activities to other regions. In partnership with TATA Trust, the company is now serving its meals to people in the by drought affected areas of Bundelkhand. Agriculture production has been decreasing since it’s raining less and less since 2007. Being part of TATA’s aid programme, Janta Meals is serving 6,000 meals daily in this area.

480723-bundelkhand19.04.16 (1)Photo: Zeenews

Janta Meals is a Real Deal

The success of Janta Meals does not go unnoticed by the media. Recently Jesse was one of the competing social entrepreneurs in the Indian TV show The Real Deal. During nine episodes, twelve social entrepreneurs were challenged in (social) business related games. You can watch all episodes through this link.

Winning contestants were granted with prize money ranging from 50 to 200K. Unfortunately Jesse did not get awarded. He did make it to the finals. “After all it was a great experience”, Jesse says. “Janta Meals did not get a lot of exposure though. The show was more focused on the social entrepreneurs rather than their social businesses”.

How social businesses can create a butterfly effect

Janta Meals is growing and preparing to scale up. In the meanwhile you can already see the side effects of Janta Meals’ success. “You can see that quality of the meals from local street vendors is improving. It’s difficult to say that this is all happening because of Janta Meals, but it is happening”.
With his dream to serve millions of people in the near future, Jesse has quite some exciting challenges ahead of him. Of course we’ll update you as much as possible about the progress he’s making in realising his goal. So, more updates coming soon!