From Dining out to Dining in

AMRITA PRASAD
Sunday, 26 May 2019

With food delivery apps bringing about a shift in the way we consume, there has been a substantial rise in small and medium-sized eateries

Eating at home has become more trendy than eating at restaurants. More and more millennials prefer food delivery apps like Swiggy, Zomato, EazyDiner, UberEats to order their next meal than step out of home and head to the neighbourhood cafe. This is helping small and medium eateries to thrive and making food more affordable for consumers.    
 
FROM OFFLINE TO ONLINE  
The spokesperson for Swiggy says that in the last four to five years, the food consumption habits of Indians have changed significantly. Speaking of the way Swiggy and online food delivery platforms have impacted Pune, the representative says, “Eating out was considered as an occasion led activity to toast an achievement or celebrate a birthday or anniversary. Ordering food was limited to a few restaurants from the neighbourhood. But now things have changed.”

Coming to food consumption trends in the city, in 2017, Pune was one of the few cities that preferred to order Dal Khichdi over Biryani for lunch. “It was the only city that had ordered more vegetarian than non-vegetarian dishes. In 2018, while basics like Dal Khichdi and Dal Tadka were still a part of the regular orders, non-vegetarian dishes like Tandoori Chicken and Chicken Biryani also proved to be city favourites,” adds the representative. 

With increased internet penetration, higher disposable incomes and growing awareness, people have started turning to technology to manage some of their most basic needs, including food. “With improved affordability, accessibility and quality, food ordering which was earlier done only at ‘special occasions’ has transformed into an ‘everyday phenomenon’. People can discover more restaurants and choose from an assortment, instead of being confined to the ones in a two-three km radius,” says Zomato spokesperson, adding that the demand for mid-meals snacks is also increasing along with the three main meals. “This has also given rise to a lot of small eateries and cloud kitchens designed specifically to cater to the needs of the short-on-time customers. While bigger cities will continue to grow as more users come online and more restaurants flourish, tier II-III cities and small towns will be significant drivers of the overall growth in the coming years,” the spokesperson informs. 
 
While technology has made everything convenient for millennials, their schedules have become busier. To save time, they have to outsource certain tasks. “Swiggy has introduced a slew of initiatives like Swiggy Scheduled, Swiggy Pop and Swiggy Super that not only give access to great quality food but make food ordering more simple and affordable. For instance, Swiggy Pop was conceptualised keeping in mind time-pressed working professionals who may not always have access to a kitchen and need a hassle-free and fool proof fix to their daily meals,” says Swiggy spokesperson. 

Swiggy Pop offers consumers a curated menu of single-serve meals in the range of Rs 99-200 from popular restaurants in the neighbourhood. 

EMPOWERING SMALL EATERIES
People order food from expensive restaurants because they offer heavy discounts online, but even small eateries and food joints are making good business because of the food delivery apps. Swiggy spokesperson says, “Through Swiggy, legendary food outlets have embraced innovative technology for the first time while delivering their signature dishes to the doorsteps of existing and new customers. The café culture too has also led to the changing food habits of millennials. These cafes are effectively reaching out to a larger audience through Swiggy.”
 
WHAT IS INDIA ORDERING? 
Some of the most ordered dishes are Chicken Biryani, Pizza, Paneer Butter Masala, Butter Chicken and Dal Makhani. “In Pune, people love ordering Vada Pav, Poha, Aloo Paratha and Dal Khichdi. That said, North Indian food is the most popular cuisine. Kaju Barfi, Gulab Jamun and Chocolate Brownie are the most ordered desserts. Food lovers across the country order throughout the week, however, Wednesdays and Sundays are the two most preferred days to order and during weekends there is a surge in midnight orders,” says Zomato spokesperson. According to Swiggy’s third annual order analysis, cuisines such as Chinese, Continental and Italian top international cuisines ordered-in. 

HEALTHY EATING
Many Indians are making a conscious effort towards mindful eating which includes ordering-in planned, healthy and single-serve meals. “On weekdays, Indians watch their calorie intake by ordering more healthy food compared to weekends. Roasted Chicken and Fruit salad are often ordered in cities like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune. Fruit juices like watermelon, mosambi, pineapple and orange are consumed five times more than aerated drinks,” says Swiggy spokesperson.  

Zomato spokesperson adds, “Users are looking for healthy options which don’t burn a hole in the pocket and restaurants are improving to cater to the demand. From specially designed healthy menus to adding information for calorie counting, restaurants are offering users enough options without compromising on the quality.” 

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