At the touch of a button: Food deliveries surge, driven by mobile technology

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25 Sep 2018 --- As social networks innovate their platforms and advert types, food brands are also evolving in how they interact with consumer lifestyle, purchasing habits and preferred ways of consumption. As busy, connected consumers seek convenience the food industry is experiencing convergence with social media and the food buying trends of online grocery shopping and food delivery systems. Today’s connected world means that for most consumers, convenience is just a phone call or touch of a button away.

Earlier this month, FoodIngredientsFirst reported on a evolution whereby social media has become a powerful asset to marketing within the food industry. For instance, we’ve recently seen major fast food chains, including Burger King, leverage Instagram stories for food ordering. Burger King Spain gave consumers the opportunity to build their perfect burger order by using the interactivity tools in Instagram Stories – a feature that lets Instagram users post a series of videos and photos that vanish after 24hrs.  

A recent survey conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation in collaboration with AARP Foundation, has revealed that the number of US consumers over 50 who are online grocery-shopping is relatively low, with only 17 percent ever having ordered groceries to be picked up from a store, 17 percent from a prepared meal delivery service, 16 percent ever having ordered groceries to be delivered, and 10 percent having ordered from a meal-kit delivery service.

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Research has also led us to believe that the increased
use of mobile technology is driving food delivery in this space.

In general, food delivery to homes in on the rise. It is driven by the fact that many of today’s consumers lead busy lifestyles, and in order to eat healthily, they put this in the hands of companies who offer healthy, fast, convenient and delicious meals that require minimal effort. 

While food delivery to homes has risen from 31 percent to 36 percent over the past six months, this has not had a negative impact on people visiting pubs and restaurants to eat, according to new research from Deliveroo. The proportion of people dining out each week has remained stable at 60 percent while take-out dropped by 10 percent and cooking at home is in decline by 5 percent. 

Research has also led us to believe that the increased use of mobile technology is driving food delivery in this space. Consumers don’t always have time to cook a healthy meal at home and many companies are tapping into these trends. However, it isn’t just healthy foods where this is appealing. Nowadays, more consumers are seeking the thrill of indulgent foods to satisfy those sweet cravings. 

General Mills is now delivering mobile e-commerce technology through the Häagen-Dazs brand, allowing consumers to benefit from on-demand geo-targeted delivery. 

According to Forbes, Häagen-Dazs is jumping on the food delivery bandwagon by testing out a new ice cream delivery service in London this month, which started on 7th September. Unlike other food delivery services, this new feature – Häagen-Dazs NOW – will use web-based location APIs pinpointed to customers’ exact locations. This means that by simply typing in their ice cream order via the Facebook Messenger app, the app will be able to locate and facilitate the delivery of ice cream to the customer, even if they are on the go or in a public place. The trial will help General Mills’ expansion plans for the scheme. According to the ice cream brand, the service is only being trialed in the UK for the time being. 

Häagen-Dazs is the latest brand to join the on-demand food delivery movement. Restaurant and fast-casual chains in the US, including Baskin Robbins are turning to third-party apps like Postmates to cash in on the growing instant food delivery market. Other chains like Chipotle have built-in food delivery options on their own internal app or website.

In the UK, Waitrose & Partners have been trialing two-hour and same-day delivery service in London using vans and cargo bikes, which aim to reduce emissions.

The supermarket teamed up with On the dot, the last mile retail delivery start-up, to launch Waitrose Rapid Delivery and the service is initially available in selected London postcodes. Customers in these areas will be able to choose up to 20 items from more than 1,500 products at rapid.waitrose.com. 

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Food delivery to homes in on the rise. In order to eat healthily,
time-stressed consumers look for solutions that can offer convenient
and delicious meals that require minimal effort. 

All products will be handpicked and prepared for delivery by Waitrose Partners before being collected and delivered by On the dot vehicles.

Before completing their order, consumers are given the option to receive their shopping within two hours of placing the order or to specify a one-hour time slot on the same day. 

Richard Ambler, head of business development at Waitrose & Partners, says: “Customers increasingly want to buy whatever they want when they want it. For many, we have moved away from the weekly supermarket visit to give us more fluidity with our busy lives and give us better control against over-buying and waste. Our trips to the supermarket are therefore much more frequent – Waitrose Rapid Delivery ensures we give our customers even greater flexibility and convenience to get their shopping as and when they want it.”

Santosh Sahu, Chief Executive of On the dot, adds: “The grocery sector is undergoing its biggest shift for decades – one where convenience and immediacy will win. Customers are shifting away from the routine of the big weekly shop – instead, time-poor and convenience-driven consumers are opting for ultra-fast deliveries of small baskets at a time that suits them. Customers want to take back control and remain informed on the status of their deliveries in real-time.”

The food industry is focused on providing consumers with the ability to create and consume home-cooked meals without the hassle of grocery shopping and food preparation. Even retail stores today are expanding their selections to include more authentic convenience foods in meal kit formats and ready meals. We can expect to see further developments in this space, as technology and the needs of the modern consumers begins to evolve further.

By Elizabeth Green

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