Blinkit blinks, free dhaniya debuts online as e-tailer bows to tradition

The tradition of free dhaniya-mirchi with vegetable purchases has now gone online. Blinkit, the quick-delivery app will be giving free coriander with vegetables soon. Will free mirchi be next?
Blinkit blinks, free dhaniya debuts online as e-tailer bows to tradition
Jaano Junction

People buying vegetables from local vendors take free dhaniya-mirchi (coriander and chilli) as a consumer right. So, when e-tailers didn't provide free dhaniya-mirchi, several people felt heartburn. Now, in a victory for moms and tradition, Blinkit says it will give free dhaniya (coriander) with vegetables purchased online.

Blinkit, the online fast-delivery app owned by Zomato, said it will put coriander in your virtual vegetable basket for free.

"It’s live! Everyone, please thank Ankit’s mom. We will polish the feature in the next couple of weeks," said Blinkit CEO Albinder Dhindsa.

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Blinkit blinks, free dhaniya debuts online as e-tailer bows to tradition

Dhindsa, the founder of Blinkit (earlier Grofers), was referring to a post by Mumbai-based Ankit Sawant, who earlier said his "Mom got a mini heart attack because she had to pay for dhaniya on Blinkit."

Sawant, a travel industry professional, tagged Albinder Dhindsa and said "Mom is suggesting that you should bundle it [coriander] for free with a certain amount of veggies."

"I had a major heartbreak when I paid Rs 10 for green chillies. I have been accustomed to getting it for FREE since childhood. It's FREE like water, isn't it?" asked Delhi High Court lawyer Dhruv Sharma on X.

Indeed, free dhaniya-mirchi is a tradition in many parts of India, including in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru.

Harish, a vegetable seller in Delhi's GK-1, says he buys 2.5 kg of chillies and 3.5 kg of coriander a day to be given free with vegetables. His pushcart has around 200kg of fruit and vegetables.

"The free dhaniya-mirchi is like a tradition in Delhi. My father started selling vegetables 37 years ago, and we have continued giving free chilli and coriander since then.

Sunil Prakash a vegetable seller in Noida Sector 122 says he gives coriander and chilli for free when their rates are low. "Other time, we say dhaniya, mirchi mehanga chal raha hai (coriander and chillies are expensive these days)," he says.

"We give dhaniya-mirchi for free when a customer asks for them. We then sell the next lot of vegetables to the customer at a bit higher price to make up for the cost of the coriander and chili," says Sunil Prakash.

Free coriander and chilli with vegetables have also helped the friendly neighbourhood sabziwala compete with e-tailers and other brick-and-mortar chains like Safal.

Blinkit, which was earlier Grofers, is now present across 26 cities in India.

Albinder Dhindsa co-founded the quick-delivery app as Grofers in 2013, and it was acquired by Zomato in 2022.

Zomato's profits are being driven by Blinkit even as its core business of food delivery sees slim profit margins.

Blinkit, Zomato's quick commerce business, plans to open 1,000 stores by March 2025. The key to Blinkit's growth strategy lies in expanding its physical store presence.

The free coriander with the purchase of vegetables is also a good marketing strategy.

Though Blinkit might have given in to the request for free coriander, there are other demands from customers now. Some are demanding free curry leaves while others want chillies for free.

"Give an option to choose the free stuff: 1. Coriander, 2. Curry, 3. Mint, 4. Green chillies," said a user on X, replying to Albinder Dhindsa's free dhaniya announcement.

Source: India Today

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