The future of food: Food companies ramp up delivery services

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08 Aug 2017 --- As today’s busy lifestyle, work and family commitments lead to an increased need for convenience foods, many areas of the food sector industry are evolving. Even though consumers are often looking towards healthy food choices, there has never been an easier time to get what you want, delivered to where you want, in a matter of hours at just the click of a button.

Thanks to technology, many customers have access to the internet and various cell-phone apps, the need and desire for food delivered to your home or work place is becoming an increasingly popular choice. For people living in crowded cities, like New York and San Francisco, competition is high with so many food delivery companies to choose from. 

Food delivery at the tap of an app is not just a fad – could this be the future of food at the fingertips of consumers? FoodIngredientsFirst investigates. 

Last month, the Financial Times reported that UK-based takeaway-ordering website Just Eat plans to move upmarket and take on Deliveroo and UberEats by working with branded restaurant chains in the UK. Deliveroo is certainly not without competitors in its native Europe. Take Eat Easy, which is backed by German Internet startup factory Rocket Internet and Berlin-based Delivery Hero are just some of the highly-competitive global food delivery services. Uber also delivers hot meals to European cities such as Paris and Madrid. 

Click to EnlargeUberEverything – the division of Uber working on expanding its product offering beyond travel – is happy to make food delivery easy at the push of a button, according to the head of the company Jason Droege. In a recent partnership with UberEverything, McDonald’s has expanded its food delivery service to 13 countries, the move is said to be its largest expansion since the fast-food giant began trialing the service in Australia three years ago.

Since its debut in 2014, McDelivery has been rolled out across 3,500 restaurants in the US. Today, the service is available across the globe from over 7,800 restaurants in 47 countries and six continents. It uses UberEats, the food delivery side-business from car-sharing app Uber, to deliver McDonald’s menu items to consumers at home. 

The service will now be available to consumers in New Zealand, the Netherlands, France, Poland and Hong Kong. 

The move reaffirms McDonald’s commitment to making food delivery one of the pillars of future growth creation – along with mobile payment and digital ordering in store. 

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said: “We are excited to bring this new level of convenience to more of our customers around the globe, delivering on our commitment to transform the customer experience in and out of our restaurants.”

Easterbrook sees food delivery as a kingpin of future growth creation.

Easterbrook added: “Global McDelivery Day is our way of celebrating the expansion of delivery while highlighting McDonald’s ability to give our customers the great-tasting food they love at McDonald’s, where they want to enjoy it.”

“With 75 percent of the population in our top markets in the world less than three miles from a McDonald’s, we are well positioned to meet the untapped demand for delivery for our customers.”

Delivery is just one of the ways that McDonald’s is raising the bar for its customers. Back in May this year, McDonald’s revealed that its vanilla soft serve ice cream was to be made with no artificial colors, preservatives or flavors. 

In the UK last month, Supermarket giant Tesco announced plans to expand its same-day food delivery service to cover 99 percent of British towns and cities.Click to Enlarge

As of this month, the service, which is currently only available in London and the South East of the UK, will be available across the entire country – allowing shoppers to place orders and have them delivered to their doors within 12 hours.

The announcement after the launch of “Tesco Now” – an Amazon style app service that allows consumers to order groceries and have them delivered within 60-minutes. The service is £7.99 (US$10.56) a pop and you get your groceries delivered by moped. 

Known as “Flexi-saver home delivery”, Tesco's same-day service will be available across 300 stores, stretching from the Shetland Islands in Scotland to Cornwall in southwest England.

Groupon is also looking into food delivery; the company recently announced its partnership with food delivery app Grubhub. 

Groupon customers will be able to order food from 55,000 restaurants available on Grubhub — but only through Groupon's website and app. 

The partnership opens up the potential for customers to redeem Groupon deals while ordering Grubhub food deliveries.

Groupon already has its "Groupon To Go" delivery service, which will now put Grubhub in charge, likely allowing the company to prosper. Grubhub is also acquiring 27 of Groupon's OrderUp food delivery markets. 

After news of the partnership was released, both companies saw their shares rise.

In the UK, bakery chain Greggs has said it is considering expansion into home delivery and hospital shops, alongside more drive-throughs, as reported by the Financial Times last week.

Roger Whiteside, chief executive for Greggs, said its first drive-through outlet in Irlam, Greater Manchester performed well leaving an option open to open more. “Now that we’ve repositioned Greggs as a food-on-the-go operator it’s all about convenience. And the most convenient thing you could possibly imagine is not having to get out of the car,” he said.

Whiteside also added that Greggs would “definitely” be offering “some form of click and collect” service and was monitoring the move by rivals such as McDonald’s into home delivery.

The move to home delivery at the touch of a button is just at the beginning; many food companies old and new are eying the opportunity to take advantage of this market. Some companies are just starting out in their delivery journey – just who else might follow suit? 

Stay tuned for part two of this report available from 10 August on FoodIngredientsFirst

By Elizabeth Green

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