The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in online meal ordering, just like it has changed consumer behavior in online grocery. In fact, currently 86% of consumers are ordering meals online. While many traditional options for online meal ordering, such as Chinese takeout and pizza have long been mainstream, third party ordering and delivery services have recently expanded the market. With more consumers cooking and dining at home, foodservice operators have quickly adopted this strategy or even started implementing their own infrastructure for online ordering and meal delivery to remain competitive.
As a result, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, sought to understand more about this market by conducting an online survey with 800 respondents. The research looked at who orders meals online, what their motivations and barriers are for doing so, and what kind of food—including beef meals—they purchase or prefer most and why.
Currently, 40% of consumers are ordering at least one meal online a week. 16% just started doing so, while 53% have increased this behavior through the COVID-19 environment. The current climate is certainly driving some consumers to order online, with the top reason for doing so being COVID-19 and another reason being to avoid crowds, obviously related to the pandemic. Across the total, 73% plan to continue or increase this behavior in the future. More specifically, while some order for pick-up, more are using a delivery option. Those who are ordering meals online more frequently tend to live in urban locations, have a higher income, and fall in the age range of 25-34. Unsurprisingly, most are typically ordering the meals for pick-up or delivery to their home; however, just as many consumers also place orders at a friend or family member’s home as they do work.
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