The food delivery industry has grown by 52% since the pandemic started, with ease and accessibility being at the center of food delivery trends. Having your groceries delivered straight to your doorstep, skipping the long lines for a scrumptious pizza, and enjoying gourmet meals without lifting a finger (except to use your device to order) has never been easier.
All these convenience and diverse culinary options have prompted a heightened focus on food delivery. This year, conventional door-to-door services will coexist with emerging trends focused on user experience. Let's look into the hottest food delivery trends that are redefining how we savor meals in the comfort of our homes.
Not too long ago, getting takeout meant calling the restaurant and listing your order or waiting for their slow website to load. Today, food delivery apps have evolved into quick and handy powerhouses with more personalized options.
Almost half of the population in the US and Canada use food delivery services, with 48% and 47.8%, respectively.
In the US, the top 3 food delivery services are:
In Canada, the top 3 food delivery services are:
These platforms offer various services, but they all have something in common: their apps are packed with features. Most offer subscription services with flat fees or free deliveries. Some have discovery features for impromptu food choices and loyalty programs bursting with rewards. Most have real-time tracking, and some have contactless options.
New features are centered around specialization this year, like filtering the restaurant by dietary restrictions. Think meal delivery options that are vegan, gluten-free, and organic. Niche food delivery trends like customizing a meal based on an occasion will also take center stage. Think curated picnic basket meals for a romantic date.
The rapid rise of food delivery apps launched the equally impressive growth of new types of restaurant models like ghost kitchens. Virtual or cloud kitchens, also known as ghost kitchens, will become more mainstream in 2024. This means anyone can enjoy delicious meals without having to go to a traditional restaurant.
Ghost kitchens are delivery-only culinary havens. They operate without traditional dine-in seating, focusing only on online deliveries. This singular focus means quicker service, fresher meals, and typically a more expansive menu selection. Because they're not limited to physical space and hefty overhead costs, chefs can experiment with niche menus and diverse cuisines, test new concepts, and cater to specific delivery areas. And because they are optimized for the delivery-only approach, this food delivery trend has efficient systems, temperature-controlled food packaging, and streamlined scheduling.
Check out this guide to learn how to operate ghost kitchens effectively.
The tech-savvy generations of millennials and Gen Z drive the demand for convenient and customizable food delivery trends. Their influence shapes the industry, constantly pushing meal kits and prepared food services to innovate and cater to their changing needs.
About 57% of millennials order food delivery to watch movies or TV at home. They prefer quick, easy, and healthy—the core definitions of meal kits and prepared meals. These services are tailor-made for their lifestyle, offering accessibility, value, and the opportunity to try new dishes. They also meet the increasing demand for healthy eating options.
Between juggling work, self-care, and social lives, whipping up healthy and nutritious meals often falls by the wayside. Meal kits and prepared food services offer a handy solution. Both provide pre-portioned food with easy-to-follow instructions. These features save time without sacrificing quality or flavor.
Unlike frozen dinners, these meal kits and prepared food options use fresh and seasonal ingredients. They often have options to accommodate various dietary restrictions. At times, they offer sustainably sourced options. They present a world of culinary exploration. Imagine trying authentic Thai curries one week and indulging in gourmet pasta dishes the next, all delivered straight to your door.
In the global context, the online food delivery market surpassed $1 trillion in 2023:
By 2027, it's projected to reach $1.65 trillion. These numbers mean a substantial yet saturated market that is thriving with opportunities. Moreover, 60% of restaurants have seen a boost in sales due to delivery services.
The food delivery industry is also valuable in terms of its contribution to employment. Food delivery services have created spaces for delivery staff, restaurant personnel, tech workers, and customer service representatives. In addition, the industry also creates indirect jobs in the transportation, logistics, and packaging sectors.
The food delivery trends of 2024 are reshaping the culinary world and the service industry. From feature-rich food delivery apps to innovative restaurant models, it's safe to say that the food delivery industry is soaring. Download our exclusive 2024 Restaurant Industry Report to learn more about the food delivery revolution.
“In the labor numbers, we were reporting about a $300 to $400 difference than what we were getting through Push!”
-Tara Hardie, ZZA Hospitality Group, 16 locations