The continual growth of economic demand for innovations in the food industry created an inevitable change in the perception of online food delivery. While five to seven years ago, ordering food from a restaurant would be considered “unnecessarily expensive” or even “unacceptable” for some categories of people such as housewives or middle-class families, today it became much more common. The rise of food delivery apps brought a significant amount of widely varied consequences: an increased number of accessible jobs, a higher competition rate for businesses, overall improvement of food quality, and, of course, a heavy health impact.
These factors led to many discussions about the pros and cons of the food delivery industry’s growth, as well as critical studies of the subject. While it is clear that the positive influence of online food delivery on consumer’s overall satisfaction and business’ improvement cannot be underestimated, there is also a cause of negative impact on other aspects too. To fairly assess the effects of online food delivery on everyday life, it is necessary to look more deeply into major claims of the changes they brought.
The evolution of the Internet and the following innovation boom in mobile apps created an unprecedented situation the world now finds itself in: online services conquered the market worldwide, consistently replacing offline commerce. The food industry was one of the first to dive into new and uncharted waters of the Internet’s possibilities, taking over a huge part of online fast food distribution. As the studies and polls revealed, the major determining aspects of customer loyalty lay in the delivery website or app design, the ease of use, and the ability to watch the order being processed in real-time. The latest is considered an important antecedent of online trust, and it is a dominant factor in deciding to purchase at the store, website loyalty, and actual purchasing behavior (Pallikkara et al. 3).
Another important point is that the constant development of online food delivery services brought the need for new technologies and eco-friendly alternatives, opening a new field of scientific research. A good example of such studies would be a present discussion of using drones as delivery couriers instead of drivers and its impact on ecology and the environment. Overall innovations born out of industry’s demand for cheaper and faster delivery, as well raising food quality standards, cause a grand positive impact on science development and consumers’ expectations.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a worldwide economic crisis and showed the society’s immense need for a safe and secure way to continue to live comfortably during a virus outbreak. One of the ways to satisfy this need revealed to be online food delivery. For example, in Chinese Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, online food delivery provided a critical lifeline for the heavily quarantined city and a disease-safe alternative to going out grocery shopping. In addition to receiving positive media attention for couriers doing the socially important work, the COVID-19 pandemic raised a number of moral concerns, including the appropriateness of letting delivery people expose themselves to the risk of infection, especially when they are in low paid, not very secure jobs (Li et al. 9).
The delivery couriers, among doctors and nurses, acquired the status of national heroes in many countries, thus providing a possibility for a new perspective on the food delivery business to arise. Moreover, attention should be paid to the food delivery’s role in people’s health worldwide. Due to the increased diversity of food products, it became much easier for consumers to get healthy, balanced meals instead of fast food which addresses the issues of obesity and eating disorders in several countries.
While there is indeed a positive effect of online food delivery both on the community and industry, and unpredictable problems rose from the perpetual growth of food delivery apps use. Many critics of online food delivery are concerned with the increased risk for safe driving – the delivery couriers mainly use mobile phones for navigating the city, thus creating potentially dangerous situations on the roads.
Studies show that the distractions caused by using navigation devices include not only visual on manual diversions but also cognitive ones, which, by far, are considered one of the most dangerous while driving. According to the Chinese research, the boosting food delivery industry in China generates certain effects to road safety (Zhang et al.). While this study targeted mainly the experienced drivers and still showed a considerable amount of potential danger of mobile phone use during driving, it can be concluded that the risks for young and less professional drivers are even higher and more prominent.
The consequences of the online food delivery industry’s sudden growth spur remain controversial. The pandemic provided a brilliant insight into perspectives this economic sector presents and also secured the consumers’ demand for high-quality delivery and food standards, as well as their newly acquired loyalty for this business. The importance of the availability of buying food quickly, comfortably, and, most of all, safely cannot be stressed enough.
It can be said for sure that the food delivery market will continue to develop and thrive. However, there are also formidable risks the food delivery presents. The imperfection of navigation systems, for example, requires the driver to look at the screen at least from time to time for directions. There is also an issue of bicycle-driving couriers. They are exposed to much more dangerous work conditions than car drivers because of the underdevelopment of bike-specific roads in most cities and the ever-increasing amount of cars on the roads. These challenges are yet to overcome.
Li, Charlene, et al. “Review of Online Food Delivery Platforms and Their Impacts on Sustainability.” Sustainability, vol. 12, no. 14, 2020, p. 5528.
Pallikkara, Vinish, et al. “Antecedents of Behavioral Intention to Use Online Food Delivery Services: An Empirical Investigation.” Innovative Marketing, vol. 17, no. 1, 2021, pp. 1-15. SSRN, Web.
Zhang, Yanbo, et al. “Who Uses a Mobile Phone While Driving for Food Delivery? The Role of Personality, Risk Perception, and Driving Self-efficacy.” Journal of Safety Research, vol. 73, 2020, pp. 69-80. PubMed. Web.