Author: Dr. Siddhant Bhargava, Fitness and Nutritional Scientist and Co-Founder of Food Darzee
With social distancing becoming the new norm, consumers in present times are clamouring to have food delivered. The universal COVID-19 pandemic has only made palpable the vital role played by food delivery platforms in the lives of contemporary food consumers. Today with millions of people compelled to stay indoors to contain the health crisis, virtual food distribution has managed to become one of the chief protagonists of the 2020 home quarantine. Modern-day conscious consumers have shifted from a physical dimension to the digital world. For example, right from turning to online grocery providers as a safer substitute to physical retail shopping to ordering food online due to being wary of eating in restaurants, the business of delivering food to homes is undergoing a rapid change.
This rapid shift in consumer behaviour patterns is going to be prevalent even after the prolonged lockdown has been lifted. In the post COVID world, although the virus may have witnessed a permanent closure, the aspects of social distancing and sanitization are surely going to stay with us. The mindful customers are still going to be vigilant and would be wary to dine out to stay safe in even in the post-COVID phase. With the rising cases, in our country, India is still some months away from its lockdown being completely lifted. However, it is an understandable fact that life in the post-COVID-19 world may not be the same. The new normal is all set to alter the way we shopped and the concept of dining together at a restaurant.
The indications of this change in the food delivery market are already noticeable. The online food industry’s escalating growth rates in our country have hit the roof in the pandemic times, thus demonstrating that millions of patrons are keener on having groceries and meals delivered at the press of a button rather than risking their health by visiting public places. The digital food revolution is in continuous evolution, with the meal delivery podiums witnessing apps downloading go up the charts due to their ramped-up hygiene-sanitary control plans.
The phenomenon of cloud kitchens or delivery-only kitchens in India is also putting its best foot forward to start operations even post the lockdown. The concept of virtual restaurants or ‘ghost kitchens’ that are restaurants made of kitchens only and a counter/window that lets riders to take on the food and deliver it to customers will also become a go-to option in the post-pandemic phase. As per the conducted market research, it has been studied that the global cloud kitchen market that valued at USD seven hundred million in the year 2018, is presently predicted to surge at a CAGR of 17.25 per cent by the year 2030. The F & B market which was volatile in the past few months post the lockdown, is now taking steps to embrace the concept of satellite kitchens since it is considered to be a prudent way of running the restaurant business.
Another reason for a giant surge in the consumer demand for home delivery of food and other essential services is the collaborations and partnering of large and small businesses with food delivery services. During the pandemic, a clutch of companies has tied up with various food delivery services for the first time to enable in carrying indispensable goods to the homes of the consumer. Doorstep food delivery is going to be the next norm and food delivery apps have been at the vanguard of this revised stratagem. These apps which bring to your doorstep food from eateries and cloud kitchens will start fetching your everyday essentials for you from the neighbourhood stores in the new normal phase.
Once the pandemic completely vanishes, the four crucial elements that are going to define the upcoming years of the food delivery market are 1. the people who handle them 2. the production, 3. manufacturing infrastructure and facility, and 4. the essential protection measures while transporting the products from the production facility to the hands of the end-customers. The ramped-up safety standards followed by food delivery brands like no-touch delivery, cashless payments, double-layered packaging and ensuring delivery persons are equipped with gloves and masks are also going to be the part and parcel of the post-COVID world. Owing to these measures, the market for food delivery so far has witnessed the least impact of the pandemic. With a tactical upsurge in the ticket-size, it is a clear sign that the domain of foodservice and delivery is slated to be an established long-standing trend even in the future coming years.
About the Author
An MBBS from Nair Hospital, Dr. Siddhant Bhargava is a Fitness and Nutritional Scientist. He is the Co-Founder of Food Darzee, a health and nutrition company that prepares customized meals based on individual dietary requirements coupled with fitness goals.
Dr. Bhargava is also a certified personal and a Stott Pilates trainer and is known for his consultation to over 3,500 clients including some esteemed celebrities.