Meal Delivery: Young, affluent and urban consumers increase frequency

Since the imposed closure of foodservice outlets, delivery and takeaway remain the only routes to market. According to the latest HIM/MCA figures, 16% of operators currently remain open for business, with some brands entering the world of delivery for the first time, in a bid to help cashflow and remain relevant in this time of uncertainty.  

Consumers driving the meal delivery market are typically younger, more affluent and London-based, with an even stronger skew towards these demographics observed during the quarantine. Six in ten consumers who have ordered a food/drink delivery in the last seven days are under 34.

HIM/MCA Channel Pulse data also shows that consumer affluence is strongly linked with ordering delivery, as 43% of people who bought a food/drink delivery in the last seven days are classified as AB social grade. Online delivery platform Supper operates in the higher spend market, delivering fine dining experiences to your doorstep, including Zuma and Sumosan Twiga, creating an opportunity for premium ingredients to find their end consumer.

Busy lifestyles also strongly correlate with the use of meal delivery services, as 58% of delivery consumers work full-time and are too busy to cook. Four in ten delivery orders come from households with children, where parents may well be struggling to find the time and energy to cook an evening meal after a day of multi-tasking between home-schooling and their day jobs. Delivery operators will certainly find a willing audience if they offer bundles and deals to meet the needs of families.

However, foodservice delivery is not all smooth sailing. Cooking from scratch is clearly much more economical and this will be resonating with many consumers concerned about their financial security at this uncertain time. A quarter of delivery users see it as a treat, therefore limiting such occasions and opting to cook for themselves for most of the time.

As consumers settle into new routines of increased home cooking, some are shunning delivery. Almost half of HIM/MCA Channel Pulse respondents say they will be ordering less delivery in the next week, an increase of 5ppt over the previous week. Another inhibitor for food service delivery is possible apprehension regarding external food preparation. Despite the major delivery operators launching contactless delivery options in line with social distancing guidelines, some consumers may opt to avoid any risks while self-isolating. With these challenges in mind, foodservice delivery operators must keep communication at the top of their agenda to reassure their existing client base and attract new customers.


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