New Delhi: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recently issued revised guidelines which will directly impact online food and grocery operators like Grofers and BigBasket, Swiggy and Zomato. According to the regulator, there should not be any compromise with the food quality and safety of food products.
As per the revised guidelines, food products offered can now be sampled at any point in the supply chain. Companies are also required to provide an indicative image of the food on their platforms in order to help consumers recognise the product. Companies are also to provide all mandatory information mentioned in the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act to consumers before purchase.
It is mandatory for companies to sell food products that have a remaining shelf life of either 30% or 45 days before expiry at the time of delivery. The revised norms also state clearly that only fresh food should be delivered to customers. This is to make sure that companies do not try to old/close-to-expiry food products to the consumers. Online food companies and grocers will have to comply with the fresh set of regulations.
Grofers welcomed the revised guidelines. Grofers CEO Albinder Dhindsa told ET Now that the new regulations do not change much for players like them in the Grocery space since they sell packaged food products to their customers and they already meet FSSAI regulations for that. He further added that they make sure that their merchant partners also comply with the guidelines.
Dhindsa also mentioned that they are still evaluating the impact of DIPP policy on their business. It is not great if guidelines change suddenly because it impacts small vendors, he added.
It may be noted that a Crisil report recently stated that online food and grocery is expected to be the fastest-growing segment in online retail and will almost grow four times to Rs 10,000 crore in revenue within the next three years. The report also mentioned that estimates the overall food and grocery market in India to be at $400 billion.