Amid criticism of Zomato’s “Pure Veg Mode” on its food delivery application, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Deepinder Goyal on Wednesday announced that the segregation of its delivery fleet using the colour green will be removed.

“All our riders – both our regular fleet, and our fleet for vegetarians, will wear the colour red,” Goyal said in a social media post.

While Zomato will continue to have a fleet for vegetarians, which its app will show, the delivery riders and their vehicles will not be separately identifiable on the ground, Goyal said.

“This will ensure that our red uniform delivery partners are not incorrectly associated with non-veg food, and blocked by any RWAs [resident welfare association] or societies during any special days…” Goyal said. “Our riders’ physical safety is of paramount importance to us.”

Goyal said that the company had realised that the identifiable segregation of its fleet could also get some of its customers “into trouble with their landlords”.

The Zomato co-founder said that the criticism of the “Pure Veg Mode” had made the company “understand the unintended consequences of this rollout”. He said: “All the love, and all the brickbats were all so useful - and helped us get to this optimal point.”

On Tuesday, Zomato launched the “Pure Veg Mode” on its food delivery application, along with a “Pure Veg Fleet” of delivery riders.

Goyal had said that the service was launched for customers “who have a 100% vegetarian dietary preference”.

“India has the largest percentage of vegetarians in the world, and one of the most important feedback we have gotten from them is that they are very particular about how their food is cooked, and how their food is handled,” Goyal had written in a social media post.

The “Pure Veg Mode” service will allow Zomato users to choose from restaurants that serve only vegetarian food. The service will not include outlets that serve both vegetarian and meat items.

“This means that a non-veg meal, or even a veg meal served by a non-veg restaurant will never go inside the green delivery box meant for our Pure Veg Fleet,” Goyal had said.

Goyal had also said that the new service and the “Pure Veg Fleet” were not aimed at alienating “any religious, or political preference”.

However, his announcement received criticism from users on social media.

Congress MP Karti Chidambaram responded to Goyal’s post with a question: “Will this ‘fleet’ exclude delivery personnel based on their personal dietary choices?”

Some also attempted to remind Goyal that the majority of Indians consume non-vegetarian food.

Some users also said that Zomato’s delivery riders wearing green or red uniforms will make it easier to identify if the food they are delivering is vegetarian or non-vegetarian. This, they said, will make it easier for resident welfare associations to restrict the entry of a specific fleet of delivery riders to discourage consumption of non-vegetarian food.

Responding to this concern, Goyal had said on Tuesday night that the company will work with resident welfare associations to not let this happen.

“There’s an opinion that some societies and RWAs will now not let our regular fleet in,” Goyal had said in a social media post. “We will stay alert for any such cases and work with these RWAs to not let this happen. We understand our social responsibility due to this change, and we will not back down from solving it when the need arises.”

“And I promise, that if we see any significant negative social repercussions of this change, we will roll it back in a heartbeat,” he wrote.

Also read: Amidst debate about Zomato’s ‘pure veg’ delivery fleet, five essential articles about vegetarianism