VIDEO | The Future of Food: Unpacking food delivery


Welcome to the second episode of The Future of Food, a three-part video series which explores how the grocery sector is likely to change in the next few years.  If you missed the first episode, click here to check it out.  In this episode, we speak to industry expert and Ecom Nation co-founder Mal Chia about how food delivery has changed in the last few years, what it will look like in the future, and why so many rapid delivery businesses are collapsing. Check out the full video below.

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A culture of convenience

It’s clear that as society’s reliance on technology has deepened, so too has our fascination with speed and convenience. From Netflix, to Uber, to Amazon, we’ve all come to expect fast, reliable service from companies that we give our money to – and grocery is no exception. 

Driven by an increase in online food shopping necessitated by Covid-related lockdowns, people are now far more comfortable doing their shopping online – be it a larger shop, or simply ordering a few ingredients that are missing for tonight’s dinner. 

“We’ve opened Pandora’s Box when it comes to online delivery,” Chia told Inside Retail. 

“A lot of it has to do with speed, and how quickly people expect to get their orders. They’re no longer happy to schedule orders for a few days’ time, or a week’s time – they’re expecting their order to come right now.”

This expectation has led some of Australia’s heaviest hitters in the grocery sector, Woolworths and Coles, to experiment with new and innovative ways of getting goods to customers as soon as possible. Woolworths’ recent announcement of its Metro60 program, where items will be delivered within an hour in certain geographies, and Coles’ 60-minute click-and-collect promise are examples of the supermarket industry leaning into customers’ need for speed.

That’s fine in the here and now, but how will the sector’s new focus on delivery evolve over the next decade?

Delivering the future

According to Chia, the food delivery industry will continue to grow – albeit at a slower pace now that in-store shopping is available again. 

Third-party providers, such as UberEats and DoorDash, will continue to play an integral role in faster, smaller orders, while supermarkets will hone their own online offers alongside technological improvements to their stores and supply chains. 

“Delivery is a big part of grocery shopping, and it’s going to be more and more prevalent, particularly for a lot of the second- and third-tier grocers that are realising they need to be competitive in this space as well,” Chia said. 

“Drone delivery is still very much in its infancy, [and] has a long way to go before it’s ready for primetime, but I can 100 per cent see a space for it.”

Chia also sees a future where in-store shopping and delivery are more intertwined. For example, he pointed to a Tesco billboard in a Korean train station that allows customers to scan QR codes representing different products such as milk, or meat, pay, and have them delivered to their home.

If you enjoyed this excerpt of our second episode, feel free to give the full video a watch above. 


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