This Diwali, sweet shops, which typically bustle with customers around this time, are finding themselves in an unexpected slump. The surge in online gifting has posed a major threat to the traditional sweet shops. By Arrangement
Vijayawada: This Diwali, sweet shops, which typically bustle with customers around this time, are finding themselves in an unexpected slump. The surge in online gifting has posed a major threat to the traditional sweet shops.
Popularly known as ‘sweet season’, Diwali is characterized by the exchange of hampers filled with various sweets and chocolates. Yet, the rise of online shopping has altered consumer choices, adversely affecting traditional brick-and-mortar sweet shops. Owners of these establishments are experiencing losses as individuals are increasingly going in for the convenience of online platforms to send festive treats directly.
Adding to the woes of sweet shop owners, food safety officials conducted surprise raids as part of their quality control measures during the Diwali season. Food inspector Appa Rao, who led the raids, said that 14 sweet shops were shut down due to unhygienic conditions.
Speaking about the inspections, Rao emphasized the need for compliance with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSI) guidelines.
"According to FSSI regulations, sweet shops must have a distinct display for buyers and cooks should adhere to strict hygienic standards, including wearing uniforms and gloves. The kitchen environment should be of high cleanliness standards," said Rao.
One major concern highlighted during the raids was the use of artificial colours in sweets. Rao stated that samples have been sent for microbial testing and if the results prove positive, the guilty shops could face closure along with a fine of ` two lakh.
Responding to the crackdown, Ramesh Rao, owner of popular outlet Chandu Sweets, expressed his concerns about the decline in business this year. Ramesh Rao attributed the losses to the increased patronisation of online gifting. He lamented that business had suffered a loss this year.
Addressing the issue of artificial colours, he defended his shop's practices, while clarifying, "We use FSSI trademark colours and our workers maintain hygienic standards. There is no compromise in the quality of our sweets, whatsoever."