Agents operating in the space include Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats, which could all see growth following up to a 10% increase in consumer spend on restaurant food delivery.
If that figure is reached, the out-of-home (OOH) food delivery market in the UK could grow to £5bn in 2019.
NPD Group, which compiled the list, said: “Winners will be the OOH delivery aggregators that provide consumers with value for money and a good experience, while offering meaningful partnerships and innovative loyalty schemes.”
The delivery boom is also driving the trend for ‘virtual restaurants’, similar to ‘dark supermarkets’, where consumers’ orders are catered for in an environment without physical customers.
“While they often trade from an industrial estate rather than a traditional retail location, virtual restaurants can also be run from under-used conventional restaurant premises,” said NPD.
“A core appeal is that virtual restaurants can begin trading quickly, are relatively cheap to run and are flexible, aided by a lack of overheads such as dedicated retail premises and waiting staff.
Top 5 food trends of 2019
- Delivered food – more consumers will stay at home, but still want restaurant food
- Transparency – as the interest in the environmental and health impact of food grows, consumers will need to trust brands before dining with them
- Vegan and vegetarian – the debate about animal products widens, more consumers eat less or no meat
- Virtual restaurants – the rise of delivered food is equally growing the number of ‘dark kitchens’
- Slimline menus – customers want innovation on a menu, but they don’t want them to be cluttered with dozens of dishes
“Deliveroo has around 400 virtual restaurants and Uber Eats aims for a similar number by the end of 2018. Just Eat is entering this space with ‘digital pop-ups’.”
Other predictions include an increased focus on transparency as consumers seek to learn more about the contents of the food they consume.
This trend is driven by consumers’ need to trust in a brand before purchasing, due to increasing concerns about the environmental impact on health and the environment.
Veganism and vegetarianism
Veganism and vegetarianism are also expected to grow further, according to NPD, as the debate about the consumption of animal products widens.
And a drive toward slimmer and simpler menus that are easier to digest will also become a bigger focus in 2019.
“While Britain’s foodservice industry is grappling with all sorts of cost pressures, it is showing that it can recognise and address a host of new trends,” NPD Group insights director Dominic Allport.
“Consumers are also more aware than ever of key sustainability issues and are asking where products come from and how a foodservice outlet is helping the wider environment.”