NPD: 'Unprecedented' Growth Being Seen in Food Delivery

CHICAGO — Although food delivery is not a new phenomenon, the unprecedented accessibility and availability of direct-to-door home meal services has made consumers accustomed to ordering goods online and having them delivered quickly to the front door, according to The NPD Group. This includes both in-home meal kits, such as Blue Apron, and foodservice delivery, such as DoorDash.

In terms of restaurant delivery, delivery traffic outside of pizza is growing strongly, up by 33 percent since 2012, while traditional quick-service restaurant (QSR) pizza delivery is on the decline, NPD's foodservice market research found. Still, foodservice delivery options outside of pizza remain relatively small, with approximately 6 million delivery-related visits in the past year.

However, there is little doubt that the growth rate for categories outside of QSR pizza will continue on a strong growth path, as all types of restaurants are increasingly partnering with delivery services, such as Eat24, Grub Hub and Seamless. The continuing national rollouts of UberEATS and Amazon Prime Now will cause delivery to see significant growth, with NPD forecasting that off-premise foodservice will continue to outpace overall restaurant industry traffic growth over the next decade.

"Consumers want the 'dining out' experience of quality food, but they're saving money and time by having food delivered to their homes," stated Bonnie Riggs, NPD's restaurant industry analyst. "Similar to the consumer value that online, direct-to-door shopping fulfills, there is the appeal of being in the comfort of their own homes and not having to deal with the 'hassle' of the outside world."

In-home meal kits, which can be either meals to cook from scratch or just assemble, are a more recent offering than foodservice delivery and appeal to consumers who want fresh, authentic food and control over what they're eating, according to NPD. Meal kit delivery services are growing in popularity, particularly in urban areas, but they are not nearly as mainstreamed as foodservice meals.

"I don't believe we'll see mainstream adoption of home meal kits, like we've seen with foodservice delivery," said Darren Seifer, NPD's food and beverage industry analyst. "Meal-kit consumers have more expendable income and primarily live in major metro areas. There is definitely a market for these services; it's just not nearly as big as foodservice delivery."

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