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COVID-19 boosts local demand for premium fruits and vegetables in India

Indian growers and processors of premium fruits and vegetables are increasingly focusing on the domestic market and tying up with delivery chains like Swiggy, as home demand for top-end perishables has increased while exports have reduced. Domestic consumers are willing to pay a premium to get hygienic and nutritional daily essentials.

Pankaj Khandelwal, the chairman of INI Farms for which exports of high-quality fruits accounts for 85% of the business, said local sales were growing at a quick pace for him: “In the short term, the share of the domestic market in our business will increase to 50% in the first quarter, while it may settle at around 25% by the end of the year. Since Covid, our domestic business has been growing at 20% on weekly basis. Food safety and hygiene have become very important for consumers today."

His company has tied up with Swiggy to deliver fresh fruits in Delhi and will soon launch in Mumbai and Bengaluru. It is also in discussion with Zomato and Dunzo.


Image: Dreamstime.com - Zatletic

"A year ago, we had decided to increase our focus on the domestic market as consumers are found to appreciate the good agricultural practices and are ready to pay a premium for it. However, Covid accelerated the process dramatically. We have moved very fast forging partnerships for the last-mile delivery of quality food," he said.

Economictimes.indiatimes.com reports that many exporters now launching new ventures; companies like Kay Bee Export, a Mumbai-based export house specialising in fruits and vegetables. His company lost two-thirds of its mango export business to Europe due to the Covid-19 lockdown. This exports-focused company has now launched a website, mangofirst.com, for gifting mangoes.


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