Coronavirus brought in a sense of fear among people, making them hesitant about ordering food online. This led to a slowdown in the industry, with many food delivery startups like Zomato and Swiggy having to resort to grocery and other items to survive.  However, it looks like the worst is behind us, as  Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal said that the volume of food delivery in India has gone back to pre-COVID levels.

He even expects the food delivery sector to grow at 15-25% month-on-month in the near future. “Food delivery is one of the safest recreational options available to our customers during the pandemic,” said Goyal.

Last month, Zomato, in its mid-COVID report, had already stated that the food delivery sector is showing strong signs of recovery, clocking 85%+ of pre-COVID Gross Merchandise Value (GMV). According to the report, Delhi and Mumbai had almost completely recovered by September, clocking 95% of pre-COVID GMV. Cities such as Kolkata, Patna, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, and Siliguri have fully recovered and even exceeded the pre-COVID peak numbers.

The report also stated that this recovery is being driven by the most affluent parts of the cities. Premium restaurants where food costs around Rs 1500 for two, have also come online on the platform during the pandemic. Because of this a lot of affluent customers took up online ordering which increased the overall expenditure on these restaurants by 25% more than pre-COVID levels. Recent Indian festivals also witnessed peaks of online food ordering across many cities.

Today, Deepinder has made it clear that the industry is in fact, back in action, crediting WHO for this dynamic recovery during the pandemic. The organisation had stated that people should not fear food, food packaging, processing, or delivery of food, and instead should feel safe and comfortable about it, which led to rising confidence in food delivery startups in the masses.

The fear that a delivery executive might be a carrier of the Coronavirus seems to have lowered in recent months. Goyal said, “Since March 23rd, 2020, we have delivered a total of 9.2 crore orders – and there have been zero reported cases of COVID transmission through food delivery, or our food delivery agents.”

He added, “The last few months have been full of shocks and surprises. We salute the hard work of our delivery partners, along with thousands of our restaurant partners who demonstrated great agility in implementing world-class safety practices to ensure that our customers stay safe.”

With more incoming Indian festivals like Navratri and Diwali, and the ongoing cricket fever around the Indian Premier League (IPL) will largely help the food delivery sector, possibly surpassing the pre COVID numbers.