Just Eat has presented the results of its fourth analysis of the digital food delivery sector in Italy and the impacts of lockdown. Latest Italian trends and habits, the market and restaurant growth.
As well as pizza, hamburgers and Japanese food, gelato is also close to the top of the table of the most-ordered foodstuffs, with sales rising some 230%.
Some highlights of the Just Eat study:
● Digital food delivery makes up 20% to 25% of the home delivery sector (up from 18% in 2019).
● Italian restaurants are increasingly going digital with growth of 30% in the number of restaurants on the app
● Pizza, hamburgers and Japanese food remain the favourites, but the leaders in terms of growth are gelato, the lockdown winner (up 110%), as well as poké (up 133%) and fish dishes. Trending foods also include Mexican, pinsa and kebab. Middle Eastern, Thai and panzerotti are also making waves.
● The top 5 cities for restaurants which have chosen Just Eat and therefore digital delivery are Rimini, Cagliari, Reggio Emilia, Ferrara and La Spezia. The fastest-growing cities are Rimini, Ravenna, Taranto, Brescia and Reggio Emilia.
● 62% of customers order home delivery when they are feeling happy, while for 96% it marks an ideal time to sit back and relax.
● In conjunction with BVA DOXA, we have identified 6 profiles of people who order home delivery – the Overworked Housewife, the Smart Family, the Beginner, the Party Planner, the Steadfast and the Cuddler.
Digital food delivery continues to grow in Italy, making up 20%-25% of the whole home delivery market, with growth since 2019 being led not by metropolises such as Rome and Milan, but by smaller provincial towns, as well as by an increase both in supply and demand. On Just Eat, in the last twelve months, 30% more restaurants have gone for digital in an attempt to broaden their business and customer base, with 5-6 times higher demand during lockdown, and with expansion and consolidation of +12% in geographical terms, led by Sardinia, Piedmont, Marche and Emilia-Romagna, which means that today Just Eat can reach 66% of the Italian population. These results are from the fourth annual survey of online food delivery carried out by Just Eat (www.justeat.it), the leading app for online sales of food for home delivery throughout Italy and in the rest of the world. Just Eat is part of the Just Eat Takeaway.com group, the world’s largest food delivery company outside China, and in this survey it analyzed 30 cities throughout Italy, drawing up a Map of Home Food Deliveries in Italy. The analysis includes not only trends such as consumption, as well as the most popular and emerging cuisines, dishes and habits across the country, but for the first time also new insights into so-called “food moods”, into the occasions and into the ways Italians like to share in terms of food delivery. Together with BVA Doxa, we have identified 6 profiles of behaviours, interests and needs among people who make digital food orders.
“This year has seen unprecedented growth, with food delivery becoming an essential service for Italians, bringing their favourite cuisines and dishes quickly, easily and safely into the home, providing a positive response at a difficult time for all. According to a survey which we carried out during lockdown, 90% of our respondents regard food delivery as an essential service”, says Daniele Contini, Country Manager of Just Eat in Italy. “But that’s not all. The restaurant sector also saw significant growth in terms of digitalization, with 30% more restaurants choosing Just Eat as their home deliveries partner. There are now over 16,500 partner restaurants on the platform, reaching 100% of towns with over 50,000 inhabitants, while 66% of Italians (40 million) can make an order through Just Eat from at least one restaurant. It is a market which in 2021 is expected to bring in sales of 1 billion euros across the country, with growth especially in medium-sized to small towns.”
Tastes and food-delivery trends in Italy
The Map of Home Food Deliveries in Italy shows an update of the Top Ten most popular cuisines ordered by Italians, confirming their attachment to pizza – headed by that evergreen favourite, the classic Margherita, following by the spicy Diavola and the multi-flavoured Capricciosa. The hamburger, too, has won over Italian hearts, although this year saw the cheeseburger overtake the baconburger and regain top burger spot, while Japanese food has managed to stay in third thanks to the popularity of nigiri, edamame and Philadelphia uramaki. While fourth position once again goes to Chinese food, it is from fifth place onwards that we start to see changes.
Italians and food delivery: favourite cuisines and emerging trends
Top Ten most popular cuisines
5. Chicken ↑
6. Desserts ↑
7. Sandwiches ↓
8. Poké NEW!
9. Mexican ↑
10. Greek NEW!
Top Ten fastest-growing cuisines
3. Fish dishes
Chicken moves up two, swapping swap places with sandwiches, with the people’s choice still being for customized sandwiches, where people are free to choose whatever filling they would like, on the basis of his or her own tastes. Next come desserts, now in sixth, boosted mainly by gelato, which during lockdown proved to be one of the hits of 2020. New cuisines are also consolidating their position among the Italian public, such as poké which comes in at number eight in the sales table (whereas last year it only made the growth trend table), while Mexican moves up to ninth, with its focus on tacos and burritos and restaurants serving these dishes. The final new entry is Greek food, with such dishes as pita, tzatziki and Greek salad.
As well as the top sellers, the study lists both the fastest-growing cuisines and current food trends, ranging all the way from traditional cooking to transatlantic specialities. This shows that while Italians may be proud of their culinary origins, they also have a burning desire to experiment. Runaway leader was once again poké, with orders up 133%, but as we move down the table we start to see some interesting changes happening. Pride of place goes to gelato, which rose by 110%, especially during lockdown and the early heatwave in April and May. The food trend table features two new entries, with fish dishes up 27% and kebabs up 23%. Hot on their heels come hamburgers (+21%) and pinsa (+19%), underlining the popularity of regional products in the home delivery sector. Japanese food comes in seventh at +16%, Mexican in eighth also with +16%, and pizza and chicken respectively ninth and tenth, both on +15%.
There are also a number of emerging trends, with new several restaurants springing up specializing in such delights as panzerotti, especially the classic tomato and mozzarella version; Middle Eastern cuisine, with falafels; jiaozi meat dumplings, baozi buns and amok lead the way among Far Eastern dishes; and not forgetting vegetarian hamburgers and Thai cuisine with pad thai, Thai rice and satay chicken. And what were the biggest-selling dishes across Italy? Little change from 2019 – pizza, French fries, spring rolls, supplì, Ascolana olives, Cantonese fried rice, kebabs in pita, potato croquettes, nigiri saké and Chinese grilled dumplings.
Food delivery during lockdown
The fourth annual survey also focuses on the lockdown, highlighting some new habits and some changing trends. As well as pizza, hamburgers and Japanese food, gelato is also close to the top of the table of the biggest selling dishes, with orders rising some +230%, followed by drinks – including beers and wines (+128%) – and by Japanese food, which in any case rose 42% during lockdown, together with fish specialities (up 20%) and Italian cuisine. Indeed, there was a big rise in the number of Italian restaurants on our books between March and May, which chose digital food delivery during the closure. The increase in the number of restaurants signing up was most evident in a few areas such as Foggia, Prato, Taranto, Salerno, Livorno and Pescara, while in the country as a whole it was mainly in such smaller towns that many restaurants decided to stay open just for home deliveries.
Digital payments are also on the rise, as are a few features which characterized lockdown, such as Colomba Easter cakes, family and kids’ menus, birthday kits with desserts and tubs of gelato.
Growth in the cities – demand and consumption rise
Another important point to make when it comes to cities is that digital food delivery is continuing to grow, especially outside the major metropolises, i.e. we are seeing growth in those with populations of 100,000-200,000 and those under 50,000. And it’s in the latter that the fastest growth in supply and demand is happening, with significant increases in the number of restaurants in the app (up 30% on last year), as well as in the number of orders, which during lockdown saw digital also make headway on the digital payments side, the method of choice among new users and growing by 36%.
Fun facts and amazing orders
One of the features of 2020 has been big orders, such as the one for 100 arrosticini (a local variant on lamb shish kebab) from Pescara and the 80 plates of tapas from Rome. Since June 2019, pizzas weighing a total no less than 2,500 tons have been delivered to homes, the same weight as the new flyover in Genoa. If you were to stack all of the hamburgers ordered one on top of the other, they would stretch 70 kilometres, or all the way from Milan to Piacenza, whereas all of the gelato ordered in Italy from Just Eat would weigh as much as the giant statue of the Buddha in Japan – over 120 tons.
Orders reach a peak on Saturdays, with the 16th of May seeing the highest figures, followed by the 9th of May and by the 25th of April, led by orders for beer and gelato. The latter being a public holiday in Italy, it seems that Italians just wanted to celebrate and give themselves a little lockdown luxury.