During the lockdown, online food and grocery deliveries have become one of the lifelines that people have come to depend on. Even in the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown, many still prefer ordering online and avoid stepping outside altogether.
COVID-19 and the associated restrictions imposed by governmental authorities may have caught most industries and citizens off guard with little or no time to prepare. But procuring groceries following COVID19 guidelines posed almost no challenge.
“From the onset of the lockdown, so-called essential goods were exempted from the restrictions. Obviously, groceries and bakery items belonged to this category. In India, processed and packaged food represents a small percentage of the overall consumption, but the safe handling of the products represented and still represents a major challenge,” says Kazem Samandari, Executive Chairman of L’Opéra.
As the supplier of high-end bakery and confectionery products, L’Opéra immediately moved to a home-delivery model as early as April 5. Once the required authorisations were obtained and the necessary safeguards were put in place for the security of the customers and the staff, hygiene and the associated food safety measures took the front seat in all considerations and procedures.
“Four crucial elements need to be taken into account. The products, the people handling them, the production infrastructure and facility, and the necessary protection whilst transferring the products from the production facility into the hands of the customers,” adds Samandari.
Like L’Opéra, many restaurants and food aggregators have implemented a number of safety guidelines. But to ensure total safety, even customers need to make it a habit to follow certain measures on safety and hygiene when they receive goods and grocery packages. Here, few industry experts give us useful tips:
Recommending extra caution while ordering food, Kush Kapoor, CEO, Roseate Hotels and Resorts, says, “Order food from vendors /aggregators whose hygiene practices you are aware of. They should be using double-layered packaging, disposable one-time use utensils and cutlery, the delivery person should be wearing gloves and masks, and payment should be cashless.”
Roseate House has recently got into food delivery and it’s the first hotel in India and fifth in the world to be FSSC certified – ensuring the highest level of hygiene standards and food practices. Swiggy, a top food aggregator in India, sheds more light on the dos and don’ts. The Swiggy spokesperson emphasizes,
“While restaurants and food aggregators have implemented a slew of safety and hygiene measures to ensure safe deliveries, customers can follow a few easy steps recommended by medical experts for additional safety. Along with opting for no-contact delivery, it is crucial that one removes the external packaging and transfer food from the containers into clean utensils. Lastly, reheat the food before consuming it.”
Despite taking all precautions (even ensuring digital payment) to enforce contactless delivery, there could be cases where contact is necessary. Amit Bagga, Co-Founder of the Daryaganj, says, “It is crucial that there is no contact with the delivery personnel and the package should be left on the doorstep. If there has to be contact, then one should maintain a healthy seven feet distance.”
The next time you order food online, make sure you remember these recommendations.
How to deal with delivered packages
Pay online, avoid cash on delivery.
No contact with the delivery personnel, he/she should leave the package at the doorstep and leave.
Maintain a healthy 7ft distance if contact is necessary.
After receiving the package, remove outer packing and discard immediately, and wash hands vigorously.
The same safety practice should be applied to food containers.