Ordering in: The evolution of SG’s food delivery during a pandemic and what the future holds

While we have lost time to countless stay-home days over the past two years, one thing we have gained collectively as a country is the ability to adapt to digital shifts to stay connected online.

Grab Trends Report - Navigating the app
Credit – GrabFood

Which begs the question: how has our relationship with food delivery evolved ever since Circuit Breaker in 2020?

In the world of food, F&B businesses had to adapt to bring their offline business online to reach more people, while consumers turned to food delivery apps to sort stay-home celebrations, work-from-home lunches, and home-based learning meals. 

We review GrabFood’s Food Trends Report in Singapore, to break down behaviours with rationales and sneak a peek into the future of food delivery—tailored to consumers’ needs.

Moving food from offline to online

GrabFood Delivery
Credit – GrabFood

No doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of online food delivery apps globally. Food delivery platforms became a game-changer for F&B seeking to sustain and thrive in the new environment.  A whopping 82% of local establishments say food delivery is critical, which comes as no surprise considering that food delivery went from being a luxury to a necessity overnight.

Understanding SG’s food delivery scene

According to the GrabFood Trend Report, monthly active users in Singapore nearly doubled in 2020 compared to 2019.

The top reasons for ordering in are: lack of time to cook, a need to satisfy food cravings k, and of course, to avoid long queues and crowds at restaurants. I’m most definitely #guiltyascharged (proud Platinum member here!). 

With these insights and data, GrabFood works diligently to bring on a wide range of restaurants that can accommodate a variety of delivery options, including dietary restrictions, group sizes,  occasion, and more.

1. Families with children are the main consumers of food delivery services. 

A family dinner with GrabFood
Credit – GrabFood

This came as no surprise to me. Juggling home-based learning, work-from-home, and family time is no easy feat. Consumers who ordered meals for their families increased to 76% in 2020, up from 57% in 2019.

A harmless thought turns into casual browsing, which leads to a few ‘Add to Cart’ clicks and finally, an order submission before the wait begins. With such a streamlined process so on-the-go, food delivery is no longer a last resort option but rather, a smart option. 

2. Breakfast… the most important meal of the day!

Perhaps work-from-home and home-based learning have got us squeezing in that extra bit of sleep and skipping on the commute to make or buy breakfast. Hence, breakfast orders have seen the highest growth in 2020. 

GrabFood Trend Report - The Coffee Academics
Credit – The Coffee Academics

Of the lot, the top items ordered for the first meal of the day are American breakfast, hotcakes, hash browns, prata, porridge, kaya toast, mee siam, and breakfast sandwiches. With the increase in demand, GrabFood supports their merchants to consider opening before 9am and tweaking menu options to be simpler, quicker, and all-in-one (food plus drink combo).

3. What’s for dinner? 

After a long day at work or studying, it’s important to treat yourself to a wonderful meal.

According to the GrabFood Trend Report, dinner is viewed as an occasion for indulgence, and consumers are more willing to spend, with an average budget of $14 to $16. (P.S. I am a fan of the islandwide deliveries and MICHELIN recommended food.)

GrabFood Trend Report - The Coconut Club

Here’s another fun fact: one Earl Grey Milk Tea was ordered every 90 seconds in 2020! If we didn’t all already guess it—the top drinks ordered for teatime, lunch, and dinner is bubble tea. 

I mean, just check my GrabFood history and you’ll find my twice-weekly purchases from KOI, CHICHA San Chen, LiHo, and more! Especially with GrabFood’s Free Tea Time delivery from 3pm – 5pm, it’s quite a motivating factor for me to order a few drinks for the family on a warm day.

What does the future of F&B look like?

With a mission to empower the F&B industry, the team at GrabFood is dedicated to exploring innovative methods to collaborate with F&B merchants to address future consumer needs. 

There’s a consensus amongst consumers that digital payments are essential and in fact, 51% have shared that it’s a ‘must-have’ in restaurants or eateries. Contactless payments and deliveries have become the new normal as we continue to minimise contact with others. 

Introducing GrabFood’s Scan-To-Order

By now, most of us would be familiar with the experience of ordering and paying through a mobile app at restaurants. Before you think it’s just a “social distancing” phase, I believe this trend is here to stay. Restaurants are constantly looking to make the dining experience seamless and convenient for consumers.

Grab Scan To Order Flow
Credit – GrabFood

To assist merchants with this, GrabFood is piloting the Scan-to-Order feature. We’re talking about browsing the in-store menu via the app while dining in, placing your order and making your payment on one app. Merchants also get a better sense of which items or combinations are most popular and this helps them improve their menus and promotions.


Grab Trends Report
Credit – GrabFood

With the inevitable evolution of food delivery in the era of stay-home days, comes a change in our relationship with food. Food delivery is here to stay and so are our appetites. 

May all foodies and merchants out there find belonging in a community that supports, connects, inspires, and empowers you in your relationship with food!

*This post was brought to you in partnership with GrabFood.

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