Described as the food delivery business for home cooks, HelloFresh delivers a weekly box of ingredients including fresh meat and vegetables, along with the recipes for preparing them. This home delivery concept originated in Germany in 2011 and in 2012 MasterChef finalist, Tom Rutledge, founded the Australian arm of the business, originally delivering in Sydney. Since then, home delivery of ready-cooked or cook-it-yourself meals has expanded exponentially.
It started with Domino’s Pizza way back in the early 1980s, then Pizza Hut got on board and, for a while, home delivery was pretty much limited to pizza. Gradually, other businesses (notably Chinese restaurants) that offered take-away began to offer home delivery services. Ordering was, of course, by phone.
Now everything has changed. We have websites. We have online shopping. We have apps. Pizza Hut introduced its app in 2010 and many have followed. Now you can choose between ready-prepared gourmet meals, fast foods or cook-it-yourself options.
HelloFresh is now one of several home delivery services that provide ingredients to make your own meals. Others include Youfoodz and Dinner Ladies. They save on shopping time and, supposedly, make it convenient to have a balanced and healthy meal at home.
Don’t want to cook? Home delivery apps like UberEats, Deliveroo and Foodora let you order food from your favourite restaurant to enjoy in front of the telly on Sunday night. It seems pizza is still one of the most popular orders, but many top restaurants are coughing up a percentage of their profits to capitalise on the demand.
The increasing popularity of these services has led to a new phenomenon: dark kitchens. These are restaurant-style kitchens without dining facilities, created purely to cater to the home delivery market. In some cases, they’re operated by well-known restaurants, who don’t want delivery people shouldering their way past diners to pick up orders.
Initially, at least, it seems to be the young, inner-city folk who have embraced food delivery. Figures supplied to News Limited by Foodora show their top five ordering postcodes to be 2010 (Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Sydney CBD), 3000 (Melbourne CBD), 2000 (Sydney CBD, Haymarket, The Rocks, Barangaroo), 3141 (South Yarra) and 4000 (Brisbane CBD). They say half the app users are aged between 26 and 35, 26 per cent are 18-25, 18 per cent are 36-45, while just 6 per cent are over the age of 46.
According to Good Food, it’s the most dramatic change to the restaurant business and our eating habits since the international fast-food chains arrived in the 1970s. They quote figures from National Australia Bank showing that online takeaway food sales rose by 56.1 per cent in the year to June 2016, accounting for 5.8 per cent of Australia’s total online spending of $20.1 billion.
The big delivery chains are international operations – UberEats for example operates in nearly 200 cities around the world. HelloFresh delivered 33.7 million meals from 1 July 2017 to 30 September 2017 to customers in the USA, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, Austria, Switzerland and Canada.
Seems the home delivery, in its various forms, is here to stay.