E-food: e-nduring or e-phemeral?
But that’s not all. The industry for ordering food online even has its own moniker: the e-food market. With all due respect, the term ‘e-food’ alone – that makes me think of e-cigarettes or e-bikes, not necessarily of culinary delicacies. But, with tumbleweeds
rolling through city centres, the market for (okay, I’ll say it) e-food is brisk. Amazon recently started offering its Prime customers ‘Fresh’ for free
. Vans bearing REWE delivery service and Picnic logos are no longer a rarity in German cities, with the Czech provider Rohlik
soon to join the fray. The start-up Gorillas, which promises to deliver food within 10 minutes (their motto: ‘Faster than you’), raised €36 million in a single round of financing. And Dr. Oetker
has just acquired the German beverage-delivery service Flaschenpost.de, whose sales tripled in each of the past 2 years. So there’s quite a lot going on in the – here it comes again – e-food market.
According to EY-Parthenon, the changes will be permanent. In a study published in October 2020
, the strategy consulting organisation predicts a triumph for online food delivery thanks to Covid-19. ‘We are registering growth rates of nearly 40%, both in order volumes and in the share of consumers ordering food online (6% before Covid-19, 9% and rising since Covid-19) – a development in just a few weeks’ time that would previously have taken years,’ according to its findings
. Growth potential for the coming 5 years: €2.5 billion.
The pandemic, it seems, is acting as a catalyst. This mirrors the conclusions of the Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel, the German association for e-commerce and the mail-order business, in view of the general growth of e-commerce over the past 5 years: ‘Anyone who mistrusts the e-commerce boom and hopes for a return to “normality” will be disappointed. This growth is not only sustained; it started before the coronavirus and will continue. It is irreversible (…). Customers have long since made up their minds.’
Hmm. So is shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, including for food, soon to be like the department store in the 21st century? Still around, but slightly dusty?