Complex Made Simple

Your fridge has a new best friend: Food taxis

It has become easier than ever to have whatever food you’re craving delivered right to your doorstep within a very short period of time, sometimes in a mere half an hour after order.

And no, we are not only talking about fast food delivery, or restaurant-served meals to be exact.

A new branch of the grocery market is picking up speed: online grocery delivery.

According to McKinsey & Company, the global food delivery market is estimated at around $105.9 billion and is projected to grow at a rate of 3.5% per annum until 2020. In 2017, it is estimated that 42% of all delivery orders were made online, a figure that is expected to increase to 58% by 2020.

In the GCC, the food delivery market is currently around $350 million according to this data, with similar growth forecasts as above.

READ: Uber to buy Careem? Prepare for ride prices to rise

Wadi takes the lead

Wadi, the Saudi e-commerce platform, has announced that its grocery delivery app has become number 1 in the Kingdom. Launched earlier this year, it has already taken the nation by storm.

Its unique selling point is it’s “2-hour delivery” service, guaranteeing your kitchen cupboards are stocked up before you can finish your favorite film on TV.

With a customer base of 15 million+ of, the app today boasts more than 2000 + daily orders from a 20,000+ products catalog that include fresh produce, dairy products, personal care brands, household supplies, kitchen essentials etc. The company expanded its app sales by 50% through organic word of mouth, it’s co-founder says.

Speaking on the recent success, Pratik Gupta, Co-founder & MD commented, “By virtue of working in KSA for the past 3 years, we realized that the retail climate poses some unique challenges for the end consumer. From limited stocks, traffic jams, parking issues, the hot weather, consumers face a host of issues when they step out for their daily/weekly groceries.”

“We recognized the need gap in the market and decided to introduce the Wadi Grocery App to ensure that our customers get everything delivered at their doorstep within two hours,” he continued.

The advent and rise in popularity of smart fridges that can automatically order groceries when you’re out of milk, cheese or meat mean that online grocers such as Wadi will become mainstays of the modern home.

Currently, Wadi faces competition from Danube, a supermarket chain in the country that launched its own grocery app in 2017 to similar success.

READ: UBER’s latest controversy: Causing more traffic

Food delivery apps face fierce competition

Industry staple UBEReats made its way to the region in 2016, when it launched in Dubai for the first time. It launched in Abu Dhabi in 2017, and in Riyadh earlier this year, in February.

Uber in January announced the forthcoming launch of UberEats in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The expansion comes on the back of UBEReats’ success in the UAE, where orders grew by 169% and the number of restaurants opening their doors on the app increased twofold to more than 1,000 active today, according to local UAE news.

UBEReats partners with more than 80,000 restaurants across 200 cities in 30 plus countries. The app estimates a 30 minute average delivery time.

Unlike Wadi, UBEReats faces cutthroat competition in its own market, competing for market share against the likes of Deliveroo and Talabat, who have the advantage of having established operations prior to UBEReats entry into the region. Ride-hailing service Careem is also carving a path into the market, with its acquisition of UAE’s delivery platform RoundMenu. Its new service will be dubbed CareemFood.

Careem is planning to spend up to $150 million to launch its food delivery business as early as September, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter, telling Reuters.

READ: Uber, Careem hit the panic button with loss of 70% of Saudi customers?

Dubai residents prioritize healthy meals

Last year, Dubai emerged as healthiest city in the world among UBEReats’ service, with the highest share of orders of healthy foods.

The latest data from the delivery platform has revealed that Dubai residents’ appetite for healthy eating is showing no signs of diminishing. During the period of January to May 2018, 25% of all orders including salads, light stir-fries, and low-calorie food bowls have been ordered from healthy cafe and restaurant categories.

Demand for healthy food peaks mid-week from Sunday to Wednesday, and usually during lunchtime, which indicates that more Dubai residents are now able to eat healthy during the day even when they might be busy.

Damien Drap, General Manager of UBEReats in the UAE, said, “The biggest hurdle that most professionals face in maintaining a healthy diet is time or rather lack of it.”

“For many, preparing a healthy meal at home is virtually impossible with their busy lifestyles. However, through UBEReats, they can order fresh healthy food across various styles from Poke bowls to Vegan.”

Image courtesy of UBEReats

READ: The future of homes: Smart and digital