NEW DELHI :
Online food ordering and delivery platform, Zomato on Tuesday said the company has begun grocery delivery services in over 80 cities in India—after launching it in a few cities—as it seeks to ensure last-mile delivery of essentials to Indian households that are in the middle of a three-week lockdown.
Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO, Zomato, said in a company blog on Tuesday:
"We have started grocery delivery in 80+ cities across India to help with the supply of essentials. Our delivery network in the country is only second to India Post, and we are putting in every effort to make sure that we put it to good use to serve the community."
The Zomato app now features Zomato Market that lists local grocery stores in an area.
Food ordering apps, delivery apps, and cab hailing companies are leveraging their available delivery executives to double up as carriers of essential items such as staples and personal hygiene goods.
They are doing this by tying up with several fast-moving consumer goods companies and even partnering with online grocery companies such as BigBasket and Grofers.
Online grocery retailer Grofers, for instance, is working with Zomato to get its delivery fleet onboard. Last week, Mumbai-based packaged consumer goods company Marico, said it has launched “Saffola Store" in partnership with online food ordering apps Zomato and Swiggy to deliver its range of oats and cooking oils to consumers. On Zomato, Saffola Store is available to some shoppers in parts of Delhi-NCR and Bangalore. It will gradually be rolled out in other cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad starting next week, Marico said in a statement to the press on Friday.
The global pandemic is prompting the consumer goods industry to partner up as large packaged consumer goods companies that rely on sales through small neighborhood stores and large grocery stores come together to ease last-minute delivery.
Goyal also listed steps the company has taken since the country entered its three week lockdown that has disrupted several businesses, including restaurants and food delivery services.
The company has rolled out "contactless delivery" amid consumer concerns around the contagious disease.
"Customers can opt to allow the delivery partner to leave the package outside their home, ensuring no human-to-human interaction and hence lowering risk of any transmission," he said.
The online food delivery company said it is also asking restaurants to "self-declare" their compliance with hygiene practices as mandated by the WHO, apart from asking restaurant partners to follow strict hygiene standards. Delivery partners too are being asked to share a daily self-declaration on hygiene.
"We are making a big push to ensure hygiene standards are being followed by restaurants and passing on that information to users so that they can make an informed decision and are assured of the safety and hygiene standards of the food," he said.
Moreover, it has temporarily paused cash on delivery, urging users to opt for online payments instead.