- Zomato aiming to push for Alcohol deliveries as lockdown destroys food industry
- They want to promote responsible consumption
- Alcohol stores were open to generate revenues for the government
The Indian food industry has been in distress following the Coronavirus outbreak in the country as people are scared of catching the deadly virus which in turn have adversely impacted the food delivery industry in the country. However, looking at a silver lining, Zomato is aiming to diversify its business and enter into alcohol delivering business.
The decision comes as the company seeks to cash in on the huge demand which has come for the alcohol in India during the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Zomato which has already diversified itself into grocery deliveries as the restrictions were put on movement closed the restaurants and though some were open, people were scared of outside food thinking they might catch the virus.
On the 25th of March when the first lockdown in India started, Alcohol stores were also shut down but were later allowed to re-open with the start of 3rd phase of lockdown to generate revenue for both state and central governments. Though the liquor stores were open to generate revenues what they also created were queues which were kilometers long at some places by people who threw social distancing right out the window to get alcohol.
To deter the crowds in such large number, New Delhi authorities introduced a “Special Coronav Fee” of 70% on top of the retail price of the alcohol. Mumbai had to shut the liquor stores in under 2 days of reopening them as it became the epicentre of COVID-19 in India.
In many states, governments have placed a cap of the maximum amount of liquor that a person can buy.
As of now there is no legal provision for the home delivery of alcohol in India which is something that the industry body called International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) is lobbying to change together with the help of Zomato and others.
Mohit Gupta, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zomato said, “We believe that a technology-enabled home delivery based solution can promote responsible consumption of alcohol,” in a business proposal to ISWAI.
The legal age of buying and consuming in not unified in India which mean it differes from state to state, however, range between 18 years to 25 years.
In the letter submitted to ISWAI by Gupta, he wrote that Zomato would target “areas that are relatively less affected by COVID-19,” which was sent in mid-April this year.
When the news agencies tried to get any comment on the same, Zomato did not reply.
Meanwhile, Amrit Kiran Singh, Executive Chairman of ISWAI said that state and central governments should allow alcohol delivery to help boost the revenue which has been hit hard due to lockdown.
Central Government is in dire need of revenue as the virus has depleted a lot of its war chest in relief packages and other steps taken. Recently the Central Government not only canceled the DA hike of Central employees but also said there will be no hike until July of 2021. The decision came just 1 month after it had announced the DA hike.
Singh said, “The challenge is to ensure revenue from alcohol continues to be available,” he told Reuters. “…It is imperative they (states) reduce the load on the retail counter … by encouraging home delivery.”
India’s alcohol industry is worth almost $ 27.2 billion 2 years ago, which were given by a London based research group called IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.