Where is food with the digital world?
With the boom of the internet and arrival of smartphones, one of the many industries that were transformed is food and dining. The influx of food aggregators and delivery apps have created a disruption in the traditional market, drastically transforming the lifestyle of urban consumers.
Many players, many offers
My memory of the journey that food took on digital platforms is of Zomato, one of the early aggregators, which did a simple job of helping people find a restaurant, look at the menu, read and write reviews. Zomato still stands as one of the most popular platforms to this day. India has seen a boom in food start-ups in the last decade; many more players like Foodpanda and Swiggy have sprouted, challenging the marketplace with various value propositions like faster delivery, wider variety, and bigger discounts. Of all these concepts introduced, faster food delivery, easy access to information or reviews have always been the prime focus of the consumer.
Boon or blight?
Food apps and websites continue to be lifesavers for all the lazybones and hungry-stomachs-in-the-middle-of-a-meeting. They make our life easy; they save our time, and they also accept digital payments which are the need of the hour.
This transition has also helped hotels and food outlets to move away from conventional marketing practices—the smallest food joint to the top star hotel can be accessed and explored from the palm of your hand. This has helped in creating a wider window to promote and grow an existing business. A newly set up business now has the opportunity to gain major market exposure by just listing themselves on an app, which would otherwise involve huge marketing efforts and cost to implement in traditional methods.
Digital media has also created much awareness and visibility to various cuisines; it has now become easier and faster to access or explore new recipes to prepare at home.
There’s another category of start-ups—those that help in delivering all the required ingredients, along with the recipe in a basket, to your doorstep— making the experience of cooking, even more, easier and enjoyable.
There is no limit to what you can do and how much you can innovate on this front. There are start-ups that have created concepts to help consumers adopt a healthy lifestyle by providing guidance and doorstep delivery of made-to-order nutritious food.
Indeed, this transition also has had its own repercussions on the consumer’s lifestyle. The trend of driving to a hotel for a meal is sliding downwards along with the amount of actual face-time and fellowship with loved ones. Comfort has taken over the joy of actual experience but, in the fast-paced life we lead, these digital arenas serve a major cause.
With the growing trend and competition on the digital platform today, players have upgraded themselves from not just food-delivery but to many other value-additions like grocery delivery, information bytes, health tips and trackers and much more.
We see how food has merged into the digital world and slowly become an essential layer of human life. With the growing digital savvy generation and plans to transition into a digital India, we also have the reality of an untapped about 65% of the population without proper access to the internet. This sector indeed offers massive opportunities and markets to tap into. As technology continues to grow by leaps and bounds, we can expect to see a day where we don’t just order food but can print it too off the internet!