HTF Market Intelligence predicts that the food delivery market will increase by $642 billion at a CAGR of 11.3% by 2029. The market research examines the UK’s Just-eat and Deliveroo, Delivery Hero in Germany, Takeaway.com in the Netherlands, and Mr. D Food in South Africa. It also keeps tabs on the US GrubHub, UberEats, DoorDash, and Postmates.

Food delivery services have expanded rapidly in recent years. Technology, changes in consumer behavior, and convenience are driving this. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of contactless delivery methods.

The market research by HTF Market Intelligence says four factors contribute to the rapid growth of the online food delivery market. More people have access to cell phones, urbanization has increased the number of working professionals, and more restaurants have opened. 

The digital food delivery market is witnessing several notable trends shaping the evolution and growth, find researchers.

“The rise of ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants is transforming how food is prepared and delivered. These establishments operate solely for online orders, allowing them to optimize the menus and operations for efficient delivery,” reads the report

Experts say this will provide new business opportunities for restaurants and expand the variety of food options available to consumers, “catering to niche preferences and culinary experimentation.”

Another rising trend is eco-friendly environments, recyclable packaging, electric delivery vehicles, and a strong focus on sustainability overall.

Ghost kitchens

During the pandemic, ghost kitchens or ‘electronic restaurants’ thrived. Experts even predicted that over a fifth of the US restaurant industry will be ghost kitchens by 2025. 

Ghost or dark kitchens are only available on food delivery apps. This service is even more specific because they only offer food items from online brands, cutting out the sit-down human interaction. Chefs from existing restaurants prepare food promoted under a different brand, exclusively available through third-party food delivery applications.

Investing in ghost kitchens that cater exclusively to digital food delivery can be a lucrative opportunity. These kitchens focus solely on fulfilling online orders, reducing overhead costs associated with traditional dine-in spaces.

US plays the most significant role

“This dynamic landscape is categorized by the constant expansion, strategic partnerships, and efforts to differentiate services in order to capture a larger share of the rapidly growing digital food delivery market,” say researchers at HTF.

The report further estimates that the United States players will contribute the maximum growth to online food delivery platforms from 2023 to 2029. 

“Well-established, as well as emerging players, should take a closer view of the existing organizations. [They must] reinvent traditional business and operating models to adapt to the future,” warns experts. 

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