How Did Online Meal Delivery Become So Popular, and Is It a Trend That Will Continue In the Long-Term?


Ordering in is now easier than ever before. And whereas, just a few short years ago, you may have been limited in your choice to a couple of the nearby establishments offering a delivery service, now, you have the culinary world at your fingertips. You can order a staggering range of dishes from a near-endless number of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and other eateries, pay using your device, and even track your order so that you’ll know – to the minute – when it’ll arrive at your door.

But how and why did this upward trend for meal delivery start, and is it here to stay? Should we be making the most of our ability to order in anything from doughnuts to a roast dinner with all the trimmings at any time of the day or night – or relish the fact that this is simply the new, convenient way of getting food into our hungry tummies? We find out more about this trend below.

The Pandemic Effect

The lockdowns caused by Covid-19 are the key reason behind the initial spike in the popularity of online meal delivery. With people stuck in their houses and businesses forced to close, eating-in became the new eating-out. For the food industry, the way to survive, in the majority of cases, was to start offering delivery or expand their provision – this could be in terms of delivery radius or menu – to keep the money coming in.

Although the pandemic has receded, we, the public, now expect to have this level of choice when it comes to ordering in meals – and food businesses have gotten used to the additional income stream that a delivery service provides. This has fueled the continued trend for online meal deliveries, and neither of these factors is likely to change in the foreseeable future.

Culinary Convenience

It’s a fact that our lives are busier than ever before. Long working hours, childcare, and family and social commitments mean that by the time we finally step into the house and flump onto the sofa, the last thing we want to think about is cooking. Our hectic lifestyles are another major reason for the rise of meal delivery.

It’s not just about ordering in pre-prepared meals from our favorite Chinese or Indian restaurant, either. There’s been a huge spike in demand for online meal-kit deliveries, whereby pre-prepared and measured ingredients are sent, along with easy-to-follow instructions, for assembly and cooking at home. For more details, read here – you’ll find information on the price you can expect to pay for this option and what you get for your money. As well as being a convenient option, many people are using these services as a way to spend some family time in the kitchen; kids can get involved with the easy meal prep, and users like the fact that they can see exactly what’s going into their meals.

Meal kits, or options that are totally pre-prepared and simply need cooking, come in a wide range of options to suit all tastes, from gourmet packages to hearty family favorites, with menus that rotate regularly.

Better for the Budget

With many households feeling the pinch in recent years, going out for a slap-up meal now and again has had to take a back seat. Many people have replaced this treat with a regular eat-in evening instead, ordering a selection of favorite dishes to enjoy at home.

Many eateries have reacted to the financial squeeze by offering budget-friendly ranges or options and introducing special promotions or discounts to help keep hungry customers coming through their virtual doors. Free delivery, or very low charges, have helped, too, and with money still tight for many, this situation, too, is unlikely to change any time soon.

Making Healthy Choices

The pandemic resulted in many of us becoming much more aware of our health, and this fed into a new dietary awareness. Interest in Veganism, gluten-free, and low-carb diets soared during the lockdowns, and the food industry answered by making sure that they provided options on their menus that catered to this new demand.

Specialist online meal delivery or meal kits can help people to make healthier choices by providing the carefully balanced, nutritional meals that they want, and this has fueled the rise in the online food business exponentially. Whether it’s a low sodium option, a diabetes-friendly main course, a vegetarian feast, or a Keto-compatible meal, it can be found and ordered in online.

The Future of Online Food

There is little doubt that online meal delivery will remain a booming industry. People now expect this provision, and businesses in the food industry know that they need to deliver – literally – in order to survive and thrive.

In the coming years, expect to see a plethora of innovations that will make ordering meals online slicker than ever; real-time tracking, the use of drones, and the application of AI technology to deliver a highly personalized customer experience will all play a role in shaping the future of online food.

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