7 Must-Know Food Delivery Trends for 2023
Looking for the top food delivery trends for 2023? From drone delivery to contactless options, here’s how to stay competitive in this fast changing industry.
Discover how your food delivery business can thrive with Circuit for Teams: a cutting-edge solution that takes routing and delivery management to a whole new level.
Food delivery has expanded far beyond its traditional boundaries in recent years, and it continues to grow. Revenue for the global online food delivery market is predicted to reach over a trillion US dollars this year.
So, what powers the food delivery industry's remarkable growth?
It’s influenced by our changing lifestyle preferences, technological advances, and factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the booming digital marketplace, we’re no longer limited by physical boundaries!
Get ready to tour 2023’s top food delivery trends and learn what your food delivery business can expect in the coming years.
- From Uber Eats to DoorDash to grocery deliveries, third-party delivery services are changing the game this year.
- In-house delivery keeps you in control, drone delivery is delivery tech's newest frontier, and meal kit delivery allows for elevated, convenient home cooking.
- Ghost kitchens and cloud kitchens are an affordable start-up option for aspiring food entrepreneurs because they reduce overhead costs.
- Looking to the future, the influence of eCommerce, rising sustainability concerns, and an expanding restaurant industry are set to define the food delivery sector.
Top 7 food delivery trends of 2023
Whether you're launching a food delivery business or striving to navigate the current market while keeping your business on the cutting edge, you’ll want to know these food delivery trends that are shaping the future of the industry.
From meal kit delivery to the advent of ghost kitchens and cloud kitchens, the landscape is changing rapidly. And innovative concepts like drone delivery are no longer just the stuff of sci-fi either. Let’s see what the future of food delivery looks like!
1. Third-party delivery services
Third-party food delivery services, such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and Just Eat, have seriously reshaped the restaurant industry's approach to delivery. These platforms cater to consumers’ craving for convenience by giving customers a variety of food options in one food delivery app.
But despite the convenience these services offer you and your customers, there are also concerns about the impact they have on restaurants’ profit margins. Relying on food delivery platforms usually means paying high delivery fees and commissions on orders.
2. Ghost kitchens and cloud kitchens
Ghost kitchens and cloud kitchens are modern responses to decreasing profits in the foodservice sector, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards online food ordering. While ghost kitchens and cloud kitchens may sound similar, there are some key differences.
A ghost kitchen is a physical kitchen space that operates exclusively for delivery and takeout orders without any dine-in options or a customer-facing presence. For example, a restaurant might set up a ghost kitchen in a rented commercial space where they prepare and package food for delivery and takeout, but there’s no storefront or seating area for customers.
On the other hand, a cloud kitchen refers to a virtual kitchen concept where multiple food brands operate within the same shared kitchen space, often with centralized order management and delivery logistics. Each food brand typically shares an online platform for receiving orders and dispatching deliveries to customers.
This dual trend is growing because of its sustainability and cost-effectiveness. Both business models reduce overhead costs and offer an affordable start-up option for entrepreneurs and established businesses exploring new avenues.
3. Online grocery shopping
As more people gravitated towards contactless spaces during the pandemic, online grocery shopping gained significant traction for safety and convenience.
Established players like Amazon Fresh and Postmates have made it easier than ever for consumers to shop for groceries online and even get them delivered to their door. Not only are grocery stores jumping on this trend, but a number of dedicated eCommerce platforms were created that solely cater to online grocery shopping.
Things have somewhat returned to normal, but consumers have come to expect this convenience. Now that we can shop and get our groceries anytime, anywhere, who would want to go back to crowded in-store shopping?
4. Food delivery subscriptions
Unlike traditional food ordering where you make a one-time purchase, these e-commerce subscriptions involve regular delivery of meals or food items right to your doorstep. This service model is quickly growing in popularity thanks to its convenience, variety, and seamless automations.
The trend involves everything from grocery delivery to specialty foods and beverages.
Sanjhi Rasoi, a Tiffin subscription service, is just one of the many businesses leveraging automation for food delivery logistics. For example, owner Sagar was able to use Circuit for Teams’ route optimization to manage his delivery operations on a larger scale and make his food deliveries as effortless as possible.
5. Meal kit delivery
Meal kit services package up ingredients and recipes, providing consumers with everything they need to cook meals at home without the hassle of meal planning or grocery shopping. Companies like HelloFresh, Blue Apron, and Sun Basket have brought this exciting food trend to homes around the world.
These services not only meet the growing demand for convenience, but they also encourage culinary exploration by creating a fun and practical approach to home cooking. Plus, you can streamline meal kit delivery by automating order processing, packaging, and labeling while also giving customers real-time tracking updates and personalized delivery schedules.
6. Drone delivery
Imagine getting a pizza delivered not by a person but by a flying robot buzzing through your city’s skyline. This innovative delivery option is already a part of daily life in Shenzhen thanks to the company Meituan. Other companies like Dominos are already testing drone delivery in the US.
Besides being cool and high-tech, drone delivery addresses a few challenges of traditional delivery systems, like traffic congestion, delivery speed, and the need for contactless delivery. The possibilities are almost limitless — drones can potentially deliver everything from groceries to your specialty latte.
7. In-house delivery
Rather than relying on third-party delivery companies, many restaurants and food businesses use their own delivery teams.
This move has several benefits, one of the biggest being control over the entire delivery process. This can lead to a more consistent and managed customer experience and better brand representation.
It makes sure that every step, from taking the order to delivering it, reflects your brand's values and standards.
In-house delivery could also save on costs since you don’t have to pay for any third-party platforms. Instead, using software dedicated to your delivery logistics can optimize your delivery routes more efficiently, improve delivery times, and maximize delivery revenue.
The future of food delivery
With so many new advancements and changing consumer demands, food delivery continues to evolve to meet these fresh challenges. Here are several areas that are set to have a big influence on the future of food delivery.
The "Amazon effect" isn’t just limited to non-perishable retail goods — it also includes food. Services like Amazon Fresh have set the bar high for efficiency and customer service.
Its influence is prompting food delivery services to reimagine their own business models. For instance, shorter delivery times, improved supply chain management, and personalized recommendations are now standard expectations because of Amazon's industry-leading practices.
With the e-commerce giant's success based on advanced logistics and data analytics, other food delivery companies are now also focusing more on the technical side of their operations to stay competitive.
Consumers have become increasingly conscious of their impact on the environment. As a result, they're demanding more eco-friendly practices from businesses, including those in the food delivery industry.
From finding sustainable packaging alternatives that eliminate single-use plastics to making delivery routes more efficient to reduce fuel consumption, today’s food service companies are finding creative ways to be more sustainable.
The push for sustainability in food delivery is driven by potential legislative changes, with many governments already regulating certain single-use packaging items. But modern consumers also tend to favor companies that mirror their own values, making eco-friendly practices good for your brand perception and customer loyalty.
Restaurant industry growth
With the convenience and reach that online platforms and third-party delivery services offer, restaurants can now cater to a larger and more diverse customer base than ever before. The restaurant industry itself is set to grow by 500,000 jobs by the end of 2023, surpassing pre-pandemic numbers.
Mobile delivery platforms allow even small, local eateries to reach customers beyond their neighborhood, and the creation of ghost kitchens and cloud kitchens has opened new avenues without the investment that brick-and-mortar spots require.
Restaurants are increasingly adopting digital-first approaches because their online presence and delivery services are critical parts of their business model.
Master your food delivery game with Circuit for Teams
Be it the rise of unmanned delivery services, the growing reliance on online grocery shopping, or the ongoing push for sustainability, the food delivery industry is looking bright and dynamic. To thrive during these changes, you need to leverage the right tools for your business.
Enter: Circuit for Teams, your last-mile delivery management solution.
Managing your food deliveries in-house with Circuit for Teams will help you stay ahead in today’s fast-paced, delivery-centered food service world. Its robust route optimization, simple team management, and efficient delivery tracking features give you full control over your delivery process so you can streamline your operations, save money, and keep customers smiling.
Sign up today and let Circuit for Teams put you in the driver's seat of your food delivery business.