April 22, 2019 |
The image of the Amazon Blimp with delivery drones buzzing about like industrious bees was a digital image circulated by a Twitter user, but it does give us an insight into the future of delivery, including food delivery.
It may sound fantastical to think that we could soon be looking up huge aerial kitchens that are powered by renewable energy, manned by robots and that deliver your evening meal by drone, but it may not be that far away. We said before that the traditional delivery companies need to merge to create an aggregated offer, but they may have to do so just to ward off a company like Amazon, who may see food delivery as another way to own the consumer. Even more than they do now that is.
It makes perfect sense for the consumer to be able to order what they want from a single source. Rather than scouring an aggregator for multiple choices of the same cuisine, they can choose whatever food they fancy from one place. So the kitchen in the sky will offer multiple cuisines, the customer can order whatever they want and an environmentally-friendly drone will deliver it or a driver on a Bird scooter will ride the final mile.
Amazon has become an incredibly diverse company, but delivery remains at its core and food delivery would seem to be a natural extension. I suspect that if it does enter this market then it would do so in a futuristic and disruptive way. Developing alternative energy-fueled kitchens in the sky that use drones and electric scooters to deliver nutritious food in bio-degradable packaging could be considered futuristic and disruptive.
But massive opportunity and massive responsibility come hand in hand.
The existing food delivery service has created an interesting conundrum. Whilst it has grown and continues to grow at the decent rate, the question remains whether its approach to protecting the environment has grown at the same rate. Whilst the clamour to ban plastic straws reached fever pitch in 2018, the majority of global delivery is still done on the back of a fossil-fuel powered vehicle, in packaging that may be environmentally friendly, but is more than likely be disposed along with normal trash.
If you think about it, the food service industry has the potential to be one of the most harmful to the planet. The manner in which livestock is treated to produce meat, the destruction of rainforests to create land for grazing animals, the use of non-biodegradable packaging and fossil-fuel driven vehicles is a catalogue of most things that make people like Elon Musk want us to consider living on Mars.
So, if the hospitality industry wants to protect the planet then it needs to do more than just ban plastic straws. The future may well be, both literally and figuratively, up in the air. People still will need to eat, but are becoming more and more reliant on delivery services, who need to step their game up to grow their market share. It is not enough now to simply offer a single cuisine with half decent delivery times, consumers will judge their delivery service provider by their choice, convenience and their commitment to the environment. The provider who can tick all of these three boxes will win the battle. And I wouldn’t be a surprised if that battle was fought in the skies