The year 2020 has been incredibly harsh for the food industry and specifically for the restaurants. With no warning, they lost a major part of their income, and unfortunately, only some countries provided companies with an appropriate support grant. Despite the odds, the food business found its ways to increase income.
Nowadays, food delivery businesses have become much more needed. New delivery and aggregator companies started connecting business owners and customers. The big ones like UberEats, Deliveroo, and DoorDash have experienced rapid growth. These platforms are also a great way of marketing for a small business. According to the Business of Apps report, food delivery app revenue in 2020 reached $26,5 billion in the USA and $18,9 billion in Europe. If we compare it to 2019, we can see that it grew significantly. In 2019, the numbers were $22 billion and $14.3 billion, respectively. And the total amount of delivery app users in 2020 in the USA was 111 million and in Europe, about 150 million! But none of them can hold a candle to the leader of the market - China, with an astounding number of 650 million users in 2020! The predictions indicate that this industry will be on fast growth for the next few years.
Table of Contents:
What is food tech?
Food tech is basically the cross-section of food and technology. There are endless topics and ideas to think of where food and technology can meet. That gives entrepreneurs across industries a large scope of ideas to collaborate on and/or create new food tech enterprises. Companies that don't bring the same revenue they used to, can be revived by the proper digital solution. And if you think of starting a business, the food and agriculture industries, despite the global pandemic, seem to be very promising.
9 interesting food-related applications:
Since restaurants lost the way of selling their products directly, which is normally their main way of generating income, they understood the need for collaboration with food delivery companies. So let's have a look at one of them:
01 Restaurant aggregator: Just Eat Takeaway.com
Just Eat Takeaway is a global, online food ordering and delivery company. According to Business of Apps, this initially small aggregator company from Denmark acquired GrubHub for £5.75 billion in June 2020, after expanding to Europe, North America, and basically the whole world. That makes Just Eat hold a 20 percent foothold in the US market. Moreover, there are 38 million clients that use the app at least once a month! But if you haven't heard of it before (which I frankly doubt) let me tell you what this app is about. To make an order, search for the restaurant that you like on the platform, choose the best option, pay with the card, or wait for the food to be delivered to your home or workplace, and pay with cash or Apple Pay. You can choose from countless options and specify the time of the delivery. The app has push notifications to inform you when the food will be delivered.
Available for: Android, iOS
02 Video Recipes: Tasty
Tasty is a food tech app for recipes. It has quite a few exciting features I would like to tell you about. You might have already seen Tasty's videos across social media. Along with the ingredient lists and step-by-step instructions, the app provides aesthetically pleasing videos for each recipe! (On the side note, what a great marketing strategy, right?). The app keeps your mobile device awake during cooking, so you don't have to worry about unlocking it all the time. What I found the most interesting is the "What's in your kitchen?" tab. You simply put the ingredients you currently have at your place, and the app shows you the dishes you can cook with them. It can save you the trip to the store or money for the food delivery ;) On the contrary, if you would like to do the shopping, you can create a checklist with all the ingredients from the given recipe with one click.
Available for: iOS, Android
Slowly the world realizes the urge to take care of our planet. People start to watch their diets in terms of nutrition, ethical matters, and waste. Consumers are getting more and more aware of the quality of the products they buy, where they come from, and what impact they make on the environment. Bearing that in mind, I want to introduce you to the few apps that support this amplifying health and decreasing carbon footprint trend.
03 Food waste: Too Good To Go
According to the USDA, 1/3 of the perfectly fine to eat food is going to waste in the US. And the United Nations reports that about 2 billion people were affected by moderate or severe food insecurity in 2018. Looking at those numbers, the conclusion is obvious - we have to stop the senseless food waste. In this regard, food tech apps can be of help, and one of the top ones is Too Good To Go. This mobile app is a great digital solution for both restaurants and their customers. So, how does it work? Restaurant employees pack the food that would be otherwise thrown away at the end of the day and offer it to the customers at a lower price. Users place an order in the app and then collect the food from the local restaurant at the specified time. Too good to be true? Try it yourself. Don't hesitate to use technology to create a better future.
Available for: iOS, Android
04 Food Shopping app: The Food Assembly
The Food Assembly is an online farmer market app. This app originated in France and is currently available in major European countries. The app connects farmers with customers who otherwise wouldn't even know about the business's existence. So it's also a perfect way of marketing for the local producers. This app is also great for saving money, as sellers don't need to have a physical store. Interested in how it works? Every week you put together your order for the fresh produce and collect it from a local farmer at the neighborhood's venue. This way, you support smaller farmers, get fresh and healthy products, reduce the carbon footprint because your food is not traveling from another country or continent... and you get to know your local community. Win-win for everyone!
Available for: iOS, (Android is coming)
05 Tracking nutrition App: Lifesum
Lifesum is a mobile app that will help you meet your weight and health goals. After logging in, customers fill in the test that personalizes the app according to their goals. Some of the features include a calorie counter, nutrition tracker, meal plans, and recipes for the most popular diets these days (keto, vegan, paleo, sugar detox). So how to track the meal? First, users search for specific ingredients in the food database and add them to their list. The platform displays all the necessary information about the chosen products, counts the calories, and rates the meal in terms of nutrition! So if you like data and tracking everything or want to learn what microelements your favorite food contains, try this food tech app out.
Available for: iOS, Android
06 Recipes: Crouton
Who doesn't love cookbooks? You probably have a few of them at your place, but let's face it - they only gather dust on your shelves. Using them requires a lot of patience. They take a lot of space on the counter, and it's hard to keep them open. What's more, you need to wash your hands all the time to flip pages, and if you drop food or liquid on them, the stain stays there forever! Forget about these inconveniences with the help of apps for recipes. In the Crouton app, every user can import new recipes from the internet to their library. But what makes this platform super fun is that users can use their faces to navigate through the recipe! Crouton allows users to wink the eye to go to the next step and open the mouth to see the ingredients list. You might look silly, but saving the time is worth the price, don't you think? Check it out yourself!
Available for: iOS
07 Food order: Shawarmer
Shawarmer is a food tech app our team built and currently maintains. It allows its users to order food from one of the top Shawarma chain restaurants in Saudi Arabia. This app has features like push notifications, showing the status of customer's order, a rating system with feedback (which allows restaurant owners to improve their service continuously), and the latest one - loyalty points that users collect while ordering food and exchange for various rewards. In this project, we were responsible for Android and iOS development, backend, quality assurance, and UX/UI design. We built a customized admin panel, which enables staff to make changes to the app's content, and Adjust & CleverTap tools that allow the app owner to provide a better user experience by analyzing the usage data. Good news to iOS users - we also integrated the app with Apple Pay!
Available for: iOS, Android
08 Food guide: ChefsFeed
Imagine that it is Saturday evening and your significant other wants to meet, but you have no idea which restaurant you should try this time? Are Google's recommendations always a good indicator? And what if you were befriended by professional chefs that could recommend a new, great restaurant to you? ChefsFeed platform is what you need. Users get the best restaurant recommendations from local food and beverage professionals. Who doesn't love food tech apps that save the time spent on online searches? This almost social media-like platform provides much more features, such as videos, insider tips, or personalized recommendations. So if you like the idea, test it. The app is free to download.
Available for: Android
09 Food delivery: POSdriver
Nowadays, as a restaurant owner, you have to struggle with delivering food to your customers. And it takes much more effort than serving it at the place. You need to provide cars and hire drivers. Making sure the food is delivered quickly, safely and tasty is your responsibility as well. Do you remember Domino's case? Back in 1989, the company promised a super quick pizza delivery. Their drivers had to rush constantly and it resulted in many accidents, unfortunately also deadly ones. After the company had to pay $78 million to one of the victims, they backed out from the 30-minute guarantee. What can we learn from that? That your marketing strategy needs to be realistic and the safety of your employees and everybody on the road should be a priority. POSdriver is an app that aggregates all of your orders, helps to optimize the route according to them, and navigates the driver through the fastest routes. It makes the process of delivery faster so that your employees don't have to rush. The app includes real-time delivery tracking and a detailed report in the administration panel.
How to successfully develop a food tech application?
When it comes to the food tech industry, the ideas for a new business seem to be endless. If you are thinking of starting your own app in the future, here are some tips on how to do it.
To develop an app, you have 3 options:
- Build a development team in-house
To set a development team, you would have to spend a lot of time on the recruitment process and to hire the right people, you would probably need some assistance from a professional. Another thing to consider is that even if no work needs to be done at the moment, you would still have to bear the costs of hiring full-time employees. However, an in-house team would be much easier to communicate with and would understand your company culture better.
- Hire a freelancer
This is the cheapest option - you only pay for the time spent on developing your project, and in most cases, you don't have to worry about equipment or renting the space for the person to work in. But it comes with risk. Firstly the quality of code can be poor, as there is nobody watching over the current work. Secondly, in terms of any disagreement with a freelance developer, or him/her simply quitting the job, you have no one to rely on, in comparison to a software house, where another employee would take over at that point.
- Cooperate with a software house
Working with a software house is not the cheapest, but it comes with many benefits. First of all, you would get a team that is overlooked, and you don't have to worry about managing it yourself, especially if you hire a project manager. Developers working in software houses exchange their knowledge on a daily basis and share their experiences with each other. They are also following best practices and can use solutions from other projects. All of that saves a massive amount of time, which helps to meet the deadlines during the development process.
While choosing the perfect partner, it is worth checking whether it has restaurant app development experience. It will guarantee better workflow and understanding of goals.
Each of these options has some pros and cons. So you have to set your priorities and choose according to your needs. If you are wondering if you can have your own app without being a technology expert, here's an article that you may find interesting: How to become an App Owner with No Technical Knowledge at All.
As you can see the food & agriculture is a thriving market, so if you are thinking of starting a business in this industry, you should go for it. There is a high chance of creating a very successful company with decent revenue. We all have to eat, right? However, if you're still not sure, check out the article below. It might help you reach the right decision.