Zomato Announces ‘Pure Veg’ Delivery Fleet to Mixed Reactions 

Zomato, the popular food delivery platform, made headlines with the launch of a “pure veg” delivery service. This specialized fleet was designed to cater exclusively to orders from restaurants serving vegetarian dishes, excluding any items containing meat, fish, or eggs. The delivery personnel of this fleet were depicted in promotional materials wearing distinctive green uniforms and using green boxes on their bikes. However, the announcement was met with a mix of reactions from netizens, some of whom branded it as casteist and discrimatory, while others welcomed it and asked for free market economics to play out.  

Sheikh Salauddin, President of the Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers (IFAT), the largest union representing platform-based drivers in India, has voiced his disappointment, saying ““The last time someone on Zomato requested for a delivery partner of a particular religion, [Zomato CEO Deepinder] Goyal said ‘food has no religion’. Today, he seems to have gone back on this. I ask him directly, is he now going to categorise delivery partners on the lines of caste, community and religion?”  

While many vegetarian customers expressed their enthusiasm for the move on social media, it quickly stirred controversy and criticism from various quarters. App-based workers’ unions, activists, and academics raised concerns about the potential negative impact on delivery partners, particularly those from minority religious backgrounds or marginalized caste backgrounds. They argued that such a move could lead to discrimination, harassment, and even violence against these workers. 

Responding to the backlash, Deepinder Goyal issued a clarification via social media platform X within a day of announcing the move. He state that Zomato would do away with the visible distinction between the regular delivery fleet and the “pure veg” fleet by having all delivery partners wear the same red uniform. This change aimed to ensure the safety and dignity of all delivery partners, preventing any potential associations with non-vegetarian food that could lead to discrimination, especially during sensitive times or in certain neighborhoods. 

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Goyal emphasized the importance of customer safety as well, acknowledging that some customers might face difficulties with their landlords if associated with non-vegetarian food delivery. 

The move reflects the evolving dynamics of the food delivery industry and the company’s commitment to addressing the needs and concerns of all stakeholders involved. Zomato’s decision to prioritize safety and inclusivity while continuing to offer specialized services for vegetarian customers demonstrates a balancing act between achieving business objectives and meeting social responsibilities in a diverse society.