Zomato reverts decision on ‘Pure Veg’ fleet amid controversy

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Zomato faced a wave of backlash following its announcement of a ‘pure veg’ fleet for delivering vegetarian food, prompting the company to backtrack on its decision and maintain its traditional red uniform for all delivery partners. The move came amidst concerns that segregating delivery partners based on the type of food they deliver could lead to social stigmatization and safety concerns.

Deepinder Goyal, CEO of Zomato, clarified that while the company would continue to offer the ‘pure veg’ option for customers, there would be no separate green uniform for delivery partners. Instead, customers opting for the ‘pure veg’ option would be notified on the mobile app that their orders are being delivered by the ‘veg only’ fleet.

This measure aims to prevent any potential misunderstanding or discrimination against delivery partners associated with non-vegetarian food, especially during special occasions or in residential areas.

Goyal had earlier said they decided to introduce the “pure veg” service on the basis of feedback from customers. “India has the largest percentage of vegetarians in the world, and one of the most important feedback we’ve gotten from them is that they are very particular about how their food is cooked, and how their food is handled,” he had said. He had said that for this service, Zomato will rope in restaurants serving only vegetarian food and the delivery partners in this service will not handle any non-vegetarian packets.

Goyal further explained the rationale behind the decision to separate fleets, citing concerns about cross-contamination of food orders. He emphasized that maintaining separate fleets for veg and non-veg orders would help prevent any unintended mixing of food smells, ensuring a consistent and satisfactory experience for customers with dietary preferences.

Despite the intention to cater to dietary preferences without religious or political implications, Zomato remains sensitive to social concerns and is prepared to retract the ‘pure veg’ service if it leads to negative repercussions. 

Goyal affirmed the company’s commitment to social responsibility and assured that any issues arising from the implementation of the service would be promptly addressed.

In essence, while Zomato continues to offer choices for customers with specific dietary preferences, it prioritizes the safety and well-being of its delivery partners and acknowledges the importance of addressing societal concerns in its business decisions.

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