It is seen now that a large number of tech startups have tapped into one of the most essential, yet fragmented market: Food. Unlike other markets, in the food industry, there’s no ‘Winner takes it all’ dynamic. Our relationship with food is driven emotionally. Today, we can afford many luxuries because of the progress that we had made in the digital world. One can order food, pay bills, buy medicines, all with a couple of swipes on the smart device.
Cashing on this digital trend, now the campaigns by the food companies revolve around attractive mouth-watering food images. This, in the end, lead to high customer engagement.
Now we are able to connect food producers with consumers with the help of digital technologies. Data analytics has powered the transformation- it has changed the world from being driven by the business to one shaped by consumer. Mobile devices has also played a vital role in bringing people into coffee shops, quick service restaurants and sit-down establishments.
The recipes industry has also got a new dimension, traditionally it was taken up by cookery books and cooking shows on television. However, smartphones and social media handles like Youtube has exploded interest in this sector. Social media has got such extensive power that a snappy 30- second cooking video can go viral in seconds.
Digital-Faster the better !!
In today’s fast-moving world people seek convenience and food is no exception. Most of us eat at least two meals a day and not everyone has got time to enjoy the art of cooking for every single meal. The best part is people are happy to pay for food services. An exciting new service by Uber, UberEATS deliver food from all types of food players- small to big. The online food delivery market in India has grown over 150 percent in the year 2016 itself, despite shutdowns and consolidations by various players.
Also, advance ordering facility allows one to access the restaurant menu from anywhere and order beforehand. Make a selection and get the order as soon as you reach the restaurant. It indeed saves a lot of time, which otherwise would have spent on deciding what to order.
Though there are many players in this market the innovation hasn’t stopped. Swiggy like always has been a trendsetter. It has tapped into the new segment altogether “Cloud-based kitchen in Bangalore”.
Spoiled with ever-growing options !!
There is a diverse range of cuisines with varying price ranges in the market. Digital food channels like ‘Zomato‘ has made it easier to find something pleasing for consumers who are picky and fussy. These mobile/web applications help consumers find new cuisines based on the preferences.
Having a large number of food delivery startup is a good sign. Rising competition isn’t a negative thing for food startups as with more competition one can expect the services to improve.
In 2014, restaurants were unable to recognize or profile its customers. Even though customers visited several times at a restaurant they went unnoticed. That’s when online services, providing fine dining options gained traction and people started doing online reservation prior to visiting a restaurant. Thus these platform on one side helped in solving the problem of long waiting queues for consumers whereas on the other end provided a new channel of sales to restaurants. Applications such as Dineout, TableWalla work on the complete value chain and help restaurants get customers, manage and re-engage with them. Such platforms also do a lot of marketing for partners restaurants including SMS campaigns, e-mailer campaigns and much more. So, in the end, its a win-win deal for the restaurants.
Being Social !!!
In the world of Snapchat and Instagram, everyone loves flaunting delicious meal photos. These social media platforms have made it a lot easier to share reviews, pictures, videos of the meals guests have at the restaurants.
Restaurants use social media channels such as Instagram and snapchat with the view of building a picture for the customer rather than an opportunity to drive quick sales. Blogs are another source of inspiration for millennials when it comes to finding somewhere to eat.
Thus for food bloggers, it couldn’t be much easier as they share their first-hand feedback with the whole world on these channels.
Wait, are we in the food bubble? ?
There is no doubt that going digital is a growing trend but not all innovative startups have showcased a tasty success. Many haven’t generated significant revenues and were forced to shutdown. Being local, green and fast doesn’t guarantee success. It is rightly said – “The winner is not one with the best product but with the first habit-building product associated with a certain emotion, which has the monopoly in the user’s mind”.
Similar to tech companies there is much hype surrounding food tech startups who are worth millions of dollars. It is hard to assess at this point of point whether these companies actually carry value of are simply overvalued. But at least they address the shared thinking of every food enthusiast – that food should be sustainable and be sourced locally.
Things like how much can these food startups benefit local farmers are still uncertain but its an exciting area to tap into.