pexels photo 1542252 - Is technology making or breaking the food industry?
March 8, 2019

Is technology making or breaking the food industry?

Written By Madeleine Kirk
6 mins

Technology has changed many aspects of our daily lives. Being constantly connected to some form of technology from smartphones, tablets and home pods, we as consumers are slowly becoming more dependent on technology to perform even the simplest of tasks.

This is our 3 part series of how technology is impacting the food industry, from food apps, to virtual assistance and virtual reality. The food we eat is still real, with the majority still cooked and delivered by real people but how long will it be before robots take over the whole process?

To start, we are diving into the world of takeaways and technology and how this industry is rapidly changing to suit demanding consumer needs.

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Takeaways and technology

The rise of food delivery service platforms means eating a ‘decent’ takeaway has never been easier. Since the arrival of UberEATS and Deliveroo, it has led us to new food experiences. The success draws attention to the growing demand for restaurant-quality food, that you can enjoy in your own home. With emerging food technology companies and online delivery platforms, the growth within the takeaway sector is huge.

As consumers, our lives are being converted to have some sort of technology feature in everything that we do, and food ordering is no different. Consumers have become more demanding in what services they want available to them, from price comparison, choice and the location they want to order from. JustEat, the online food order and delivery service, have been the front runner in the online food delivery market for over a decade, but the likes of Deliveroo and UberEATS are shaking things up.

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The impact of food delivery apps on the food industry

Convenience, quality and choice are just three reasons why people might use a food app for food delivery. These food delivery platforms have opened up a whole new market for both consumers and restaurants alike. From customers going into a takeaway, to ordering over the phone, to ordering over the internet and now ordering through mobile applications, the next big trend for food ordering may be just around the corner.

In the past, takeaway establishments had been associated with unhealthy, greasy fast food. For consumer, especially younger generations, seeking healthy food options to complement wellness focussed lives has become a top priority. The expansion of these delivery platforms is grounded on the fact that consumers can eat restaurant quality food in the comfort of their own home. The choice of food available on these apps is also endless, from sushi and thai, to burgers and mexican. Whatever cuisine you fancy, these platforms will have it, all at the click of a button.

Although there are restaurants and cafes around the world who are not featured on a platform like Deliveroo or have an app of their own, sooner or later the impact these platforms are having on the industry will have to confronted. These restaurants will have to start rethinking the ways in which they operate due to changing consumer habits, which are making way for more convenient dining options, for example delivered meal kits, also ordered through bespoke applications.

Although the food delivery service might not break restaurant food service, it will soon start to come at a cost. When done right, food delivery services can increase customer loyalty and expand into new markets. This kind of customer facing technology is going to have an undoubtable edge over both real-life restaurants and more traditional ways of ordering a takeaway. For those who are in the food industry and don’t offer delivery through one of the many different platforms available, they are, without doubt, missing out on a multitude of opportunities technology can provide throughout their industry.

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Food delivery personalisation

As these food apps are now a big part of our lives, companies are competing to gain loyal customers, who regularly use their product over others available on the market. For apps such as UberEats and Deliveroo, once an order is placed, customers can track from when the food is being prepared, right through to delivery; knowing where your delivery man is and even what they are called. Although this would seem something simple, knowing how long your food will take and who is delivering it can make or break the customer loyalty relationship with a restaurant or takeaway.

Artificial Intelligence is also being embraced by the food industry and food delivery platforms. Driven by the surge in online food orders, companies want to know and keep up-to-date with the ever-changing consumer behaviour, minimise potential errors and enhance customer experiences. To provide a unforgettable customer experience, boost business growth and drive restaurant efficiency, AI can be highly beneficial to just the restaurant. Restaurants can use AI for predictions on demand, which in turn can help plan ahead in the ingredient ordering process. These benefits extend to the customers using the platform, with AI delivering a more personalised experience. Push notifications are a go-to for all businesses when creating a new app. Although customers receive the same old notifications, which can sometimes get annoying, companies who are ‘push notification savvy’, can gain and, more importantly, retain customers. Receiving that notification telling you there is a katsu curry with your name on it, received just before lunch time, leaving enough time for it to be cooked and delivered in time for you not to feel too hungry but hungry enough to be persuaded by that perfectly timed notification, has to be a coincidence!

Personalisation doesn’t stop at push notifications. This valentine’s day, one KFC chain teamed up with Deliveroo. Instead of sending a loved one a box of chocolates, this collaboration, named “Secret Recipe to My Heart”, let customers send a box of crispy chicken to express their love. Each meal came with an Instagram-worthy heart shaped box and personalised message. For days like these, the possibilities for food personalisation are endless.

Like all industries, new advancements in technology is changing the food industry. For consumers, this change means they can order food when and where they like, making the food ordering and delivery process more convenient and quicker. There are still many areas of food and technology left to explore.

Look out for our next tech trends white paper on the food industry