Home CATEGORIES Business Ethics & Philanthropy Zomato to continue with ‘pure veg’ fleet, rolls back green uniform

Zomato to continue with ‘pure veg’ fleet, rolls back green uniform

Green uniforms introduced for Zomato's pure veg fleet have been rolled back overnight
Following social media backlash and allegations of its ‘Pure Veg Fleet’ being ‘discriminatory’, food delivery aggregator Zomato on Wednesday morning rolled back its decision to make its ‘pure veg ’ delivery personnel wear green uniforms, an announcement they had made on Tuesday evening. The company stated that they have decided to “remove the on-ground segregation of this fleet on the ground using the colour green.”
Citing that they ‘understand’ it can have ‘unintended consequences’ expressed by customers on social media, Zomato declared on Wednesday that while it will go ahead with a ‘veg fleet’ for vegetarian customers, all its delivery partners would continue to wear the same red uniform.
Zomato Co-Founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal’s decision to introduce a ‘pure veg fleet’ for delivering vegetarian food on Tuesday sparked a debate on social media. While a section of social media users welcomed the decision, a majority of netizens found the company’s move ‘discriminatory’.

Green uniform discontinued for ‘pure veg’ fleet

On Wednesday morning, the Zomato CEO posted on social media, “Update on our pure veg fleet —  While we are going to continue to have a fleet for vegetarians, we have decided to remove the on-ground segregation of this fleet on the ground using the colour green. All our riders — both our regular fleet, and our fleet for vegetarians, will wear the colour red. This means that the fleet meant for vegetarian orders will not be identifiable on the ground (but will show on the app that your veg orders will be served by the veg only fleet).”
“This will ensure that our red uniform delivery partners are not incorrectly associated with non-veg food, and blocked by any RWAs or societies during any special days… our riders’ physical safety is of paramount importance to us. We now realise that even some of our customers could get into trouble with their landlords, and that would not be a nice thing if that happened because of us. Thanks everyone for talking about this last night. You made us understand the unintended consequences of this rollout. All the love, and all the brickbats were all so useful – and helped us get to this optimal point. We are always listening, without unnecessary ego, or pride. We look forward to continue serving you,” he further wrote.

Why ‘Pure veg’ fleet

Zomato CEO on Tuesday evening took to social media to announce that the food delivery aggregator is starting with a ‘pure veg fleet’ to cater to the demands of its customers having a “100% vegetarian dietary preference”.
Taking to X, Deepinder Goyal wrote, “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. To solve for their dietary preferences, we are today, launching a ‘Pure Veg Mode’ along with a ‘Pure Veg Fleet’ on Zomato, for customers who have a 100% vegetarian dietary preference.”
“Pure Veg Mode will consist of a curation of restaurants that serve only pure vegetarian food, and will exclude all restaurants which serve any non-veg food item. Our dedicated Pure Veg Fleet will only serve orders from these pure veg restaurants. This means that a non-veg meal, or even a veg meal served by a non-veg restaurant will never go inside the green delivery box meant for our Pure Veg Fleet,” he explained.
“In the future, we plan to add more specialised fleets for special customer needs. For example, there’s a special cake delivery fleet coming up with hydraulic balancers which prevent your cake from getting smudged during delivery. This feature will see a phased roll out across the country in the next few weeks. We remain committed to listening to our customers, and serving our community in the best possible way,” he further wrote.
Adding a clarification, he shared, “Please note that this Pure Veg Mode, or the Pure Veg Fleet doesn’t serve or alienate any religious, or political preference.

Reaction on social media

Goyal’s social media post received both bouquets and brickbats from netizens. While some people welcomed the move saying they would now feel safe to order vegetarian food which is not kept in the same delivery bag along with non-vegetarian food, a large section of netizens found the move ‘discriminatory’.
A section of netizens trolled zomato asking whether the person delivering the pure veg food, the person cooking the pure veg food and even the farmers growing the vegetables are vegetarians themselves. Some people suggested that making delivery fleet wear green uniforms would change Zomato’s brand identity which is synonymous with red, while some users felt it is time they should uninstall Zomato’s app and boycott it because the company is promoting discrimination and untouchability.
“If it was just a matter of the food being kept separate it could have been done with separate bags. But this is about the person touching their food!,” expressed a user.
“Not a good idea, I would not like to let my neighbours know my food preferences. Already many RWAs (Resident Welfare Association) are policing about this,” posted another user.
“Being in the food industry, you should know by now that there is nothing such a PURE veg. All food cooked well with pure ingredients will always be pure. Vegetarians have no claim over any purity,” retorted another user.
Ahana Bhattacharya can be reached at ahana@thecsrjournal.in