According to Lumina’s UK Food Service Delivery Market Report 2021, food delivery increased by £3.7 billion in 2020 to reach £11.4 billion – double its 2015 market value – as it benefited from being one of the few routes to market during the pandemic.
During 2020, delivery accounted for 20% of the food service industry, and it expects to increase in the next five years. Based on Lumina’s research, at least 75% of food delivery customers will continue to use the service. The main reason is a smaller size of family, save time from cooking and higher income.
Even the restrictions have been lifted, the food delivery market is still prominent. Food delivery fee does not surpass the service fee in restaurants, and food delivery companies always provide coupons to attract more customers using apps or websites to order online. Therefore, the competitiveness in the food delivery market is quite intense.
In the United Kingdom, Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat Takeaway account for the majority of food delivery market share. In the United States, DoorDash and Uber Eats are the biggest companies to serve the market. However, there has a niche market in this industry, which is the overseas Chinese market. It is understood that the number of overseas Chinese has surpassed 55 million. Just in the UK, there are more than 0.4 million. In the US, the population is 3.3 million, about 1% of total Americans. Based on this large user dataset, some companies started to launch services specifically for overseas Chinese.
The emerging niche market has several features. English is not the mother tongue for Chinese, so many overseas Chinese do not have a good understanding and communication skills in English. Furthermore, Chinese people are keen on authentic food, but most restaurants change their recipes to fit the appetite of local people, making the Chinese cuisine much different from traditional Chinese food. With many cultural barriers, overseas Chinese often find it difficult to order Chinese food online as it is not easy to judge which dishes are simply based on the ingredients without a proper Chinese name or pictures.
Therefore, companies such as HungryPanda, Fantuan and Chowbus choose this market targeted for overseas Chinese. In all Chinese food delivery companies, HungryPanda is the largest one undoubtedly. The company operates in over ten countries, including the UK, the US and Australia. Fantuan only operates in Canada and Chowbus only operates in the US. In 2020, HungryPanda also received $90 million for investment to support its expansion in North America and improve its business in other countries
Talking about the market, the Founder and the CEO of HungryPanda, Eric said that serving overseas Chinese communities means a lot. It is not only a choice of business, it is also a responsibility to build the connection with overseas Chinese to help them improve their living experience. Food delivery is not the only solution, HungryPanda is also seeking other business models to improve overseas Chinese’s living experience comprehensively by launching the service of Panda Fresh (Asian fresh food and groceries) and Panda Voucher (coupons for entertainment).
As a new step, HungryPanda launched its English app to expand its services for local people. Clearly, they do not satisfy the market of overseas Chinese, they also hope that more local people can taste the authentic and traditional Chinese food, not only the fast-food noodles or sweet and sour chicken. HungryPanda aims to compete with more competitive food delivery companies for local food market share by stepping into this stage.