The Era of Food on Demand

June 2021

As consumers prepare fewer meals overall, while demanding more assistance for the ones they do, spending and brand equity will accrue to those companies providing fresh prepared meals on demand, from delivery aggregators to retailers, restaurant operators and others, and away from individual packaged food and drink brands. This report discussing the challenges and opportunities in this new environment, while exploring the broader impact of the emerging fresh food economy.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

The meal becomes the new value driver

Following a 20th century defined by dominant global product brands, consumer interest (and spending) in the 21st is turning towards the meal in various stages of preparation, from recipe fulfilment to meal kits to high-end restaurant meals.

Aggregators, assemblers drive branding

As consumers prepare fewer meals overall, with more assistance for the ones they do, spending and brand equity will accrue to the services providing meals, from delivery aggregators to retailers, and away from individual product brands.

Supply, preparation draw closer to the end consumer

Logistics and preparation will grow increasingly separate from discovery and selection, as regular supermarket and restaurant trips give way to more delivery and more quick meal provision.

Sustainability, obesity debates to shift in a world of meals on demand

More prepared meals means new questions for consumer health and the environment. Prepared meals, particularly restaurant meals, have historically not faced the same scrutiny over ingredients or packaging as packaged food and drink, something which must change if present trends continue.

From shopping to “meal fulfilment”

As more planned occasions migrate online, physical retail and foodservice operators will increasingly compete for the same set of same-day, unplanned/low-planning “meal fulfilment” occasions.


Key findings
On-demand delivery is changing the entire food and drink industry
The Era of Food on Demand
Exploring the Era of Food on Demand
The Era of Food on Demand in depth
Prepared meals everywhere
Understanding the evolution of eating, drinking, and cooking
More channels becoming “meal fulfillment centres”
The power of proximity
Food as fashion
Cooking reimagined
Snacking, impulse occasions move and evolve
A changing discussion about health, sustainability
The Era of Food on Demand in focus
Companies are meeting the needs of consumers using various strategies
Rebundling the meal: Kraft Heinz’s “Honig Freshly Prepared”
Impulse in the cloud: Unilever’s “Ice Cream Shop”
App(liance) meets App: Miele’s Barista Assistant
Products and platforms: Coca-Cola’s Wabi, vending machines are a path to an ecosystem
Foodservice into retail: delivery apps add grocery delivery
Home cooking on demand: Indian start-ups create platforms for cooks
The Era of Food on Demand
Key Industry takeaways
Challenges to overcome
Become tomorrow’s next leader


Retail is the sale of new and used goods to consumers from a business for personal or household consumption from retail outlets, kiosks, market stalls, vending, direct selling and e-commerce. Retail is the aggregation of Retail Offline and Retail E-Commerce. Excludes specialist retailers of motor vehicles, motorcycles, vehicle parts. Also excludes fuel sales, foodservice sales, rental transactions, and wholesale sales (e.g. Cash and Carry). Sales value excluding or including VAT/Sales Tax. Retail also excludes the informal retail sector. Informal retailing is retail trade which is not declared to the tax authorities. Informal retailing encompasses (a) sales generated by unregistered and unlicensed retailers, i.e. retailers operating illegally, and (b) any proportion of sales generated by a registered and licensed retailer that is not declared to the tax authorities. Unregistered and unlicensed retailers operate predominantly (although not exclusively) as street hawkers or operate open market stalls, as these channels are harder for the authorities to monitor than permanent outlets. Activities in the illegal market, which is usually understood to refer to trade in illegal, counterfeit or stolen merchandise, are included within our definition of informal retailing. Activities in the “grey market”, which is usually understood to refer to trade in legal merchandise that is sold through unauthorized channels – for example cigarettes bought legally in another country, legally imported, but sold at lower prices than in authorized channels – will be included as informal retailing if no tax is paid on sale by the retailer. However if the retailer pays tax – for example on cigarettes bought legally in another country but sold at a lower price than standard – the sale is included within formal retail.

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