Online food shopping, described as the business of delivering restaurant meals to homes, is undergoing rapid changes. This is due to the emergence and development of online platforms. Convenience and transparency are the two primary factors that people consider when shopping online via apps and websites. Therefore, they expect the same to apply when it comes to ordering meals.
Most of the online platforms, such as Jumia Food, allow customers to compare menus, place orders, and post reviews from different restaurants with a single click. Online food shopping is gaining popularity in Kenya and generates approximately 10.6% of the annual GDP. Hotels and restaurants in the major towns, such as Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru are changing their business models and shifting to home deliveries. The increasing number of millennials who have taken advantage of the digital space, and prefer having their meals from home, are causing this shift.
Demand for specific meals
Initially, chicken, fries, pizza and burgers dominated the online food shopping sector. According to the Jumia Food Index Report of 2019, Kenyans preferred chicken, then pizza and burgers. However, the cuisine portfolio has recently expanded to include traditional African foods, such as ugali and nyama choma.
This shift is attributed to the increasing number of restaurants specialized in cooking local meals embracing the delivery model. This is because it is a simple model to integrate. Moreover, aside from apps and websites, other small and mid-size restaurants are using social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They use them to advertise their meals and post their customer service contacts for online deliveries. In 2019, dinner dominated as it comprised over 50% of the meal ordered by Kenyans online.
It is essential to point out that customers consider affordability, convenience and availability when making online food purchases. As a result, most restaurants are offering meals in the Ksh 300 and below price range. This has further enhanced the demand for lunch and dinner meals. When it comes to convenience, customers prefer restaurants that have the food delivered within the first 45 minutes of ordering.
In addition, the middle-class prefers online food shopping as compared to their upper and lower counterparts. This trend is expected to further increase with the growing middle-class population. So why would people want home-delivered meals?
Exhaustion after work
People might have just had a long day at work, and all that they want is to get back home and relax. It is easier for them to order online food, which is just one click away, and have it delivered to their doorsteps. Furthermore, the wide menu of local and fast foods grants them the flexibility to stick to their diet. They are also saved the hassle of cleaning up the dishes.
Most children in urban cities have been raised up in the era of the KFC chicken, pizza and burgers. Since they prefer eating fast foods to traditional foods, their parents might be sometimes inclined to order food online.
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Early February 2020 right before Covid-19 pandemic hit the