• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

The burgeoning online ‘ready-made meals’ business

An adventure of Africa’s best street foods

…The good, the bad and the ugly sides

The system of buying and selling products online appears to be the contemporary trend traders use to deliver satisfactory goods and services to customers both locally and globally.

Conducting business trade online comes across as a pattern that gives a wide range of choices which enable customers to broaden their perspectives on preferences to make, irrespective of the distance involved.

Read also: Instant Trolleys deepens Nigeria’s food delivery business

The increasing knowledge of the awareness of online businesses also known as e-commerce has enabled people to not only acquire business ideas but also grab an extensive variety of mechanisms on how to expand businesses beyond the ‘brick-and-mortar’ system.

Despite the enticing privileges of online business trade, a lot of people are skeptical about its benefits. People who have been exposed to fraudulent extortion in the past, as well as those who have close friends or relatives who have been a victim, doubt the efficiency of buying or even selling products online.

In a previous interview with BusinessDay, Emmanuel Okwara – country manager for Equiti Nigeria, highlighted that online trading is not fraudulent. He stated that the problem is that a lot of people in the past and even presently have used online trading as an excuse to scam people.

“I can tell you, most of those scams didn’t trade with people’s money, they just used online trading as an excuse to collect money from people. That’s a problem I always have with people and that’s why we have to focus more on education. Why give your money to someone when you can learn to do this yourself?” he said.

Online sales of ready-made meals

A lot of various tangible and intangible goods are traded via the internet as well as a variety of services hired within the localities, globally and internationally, amongst which food items and products stand as a major concern of importance.

The reason people hunt for food stuff online are justifiable by a couple of reasons depending on proximity to the market, individual schedule, gratification of modern trends, and so on.

Interestingly, beyond food materials and raw food items, the online-market now offers already-made meals for the comfort of its customers. Individual food vendors and restaurants within and across the country, use the ‘internet-market’ to sell cooked and packaged meals that do not require any more preparation or cooking thereby trading their products and services for the convenience and satisfaction of their customers.

Online platforms often offer a wide variety of ready-made meals to cater to diverse dietary preferences and restrictions, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and keto options. Customers can also customise their meals based on personal preferences, portion sizes, and nutritional requirements.

According to an article compiled by Jens Torchalla and Hunter Williams – Ready food, “In recent years, one of the hottest international trends in consumer preferences has been the shift from cooking and eating at home, to eating outside and ordering delivery from individual food vendors and restaurants. One reason for the shift — besides an unwillingness to spend time in the kitchen — has been consumers’ desire among the millennial and Generation Z cohort to experience new food combinations and cuisines.

“Preferences for ready meals are constantly changing in the food market. Indeed, across the world, customers are seeking higher-quality food without having to prepare it themselves from scratch. This has contributed to the popularity of ready-meal takeaways and quick delivery, for which consumers have demonstrated a willingness to pay a premium. Alongside a desire to experience new tastes and food combinations, there’s a growing trend among consumers for premiumization and a better experience, as they become more discerning in terms of quality, service, and choice. The luxury/premium restaurant category has increased its penetration in many developed markets. Rising competition in the food market has allowed suppliers to broaden their offerings, covering even niche markets and satisfying the most exclusive customer needs.”

Online platforms offering ready-made meals provide consumers with the convenience of having freshly prepared, restaurant-quality meals delivered directly to their doorstep. This eliminates the need for meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking, saving time and effort for busy individuals and families.

For consumers looking to maintain a healthy diet or achieve specific health goals, online trade in ready-made meals offers a convenient solution. These services often provide nutritionally balanced meals with calorie counts and ingredient lists clearly labeled, making it easier for people to make informed choices about their diet.

Online meal delivery eliminates the time-consuming tasks associated with meal preparation, such as chopping, cooking, and cleaning. This free up time for consumers to focus on other priorities, whether it’s work, family, or leisure activities.

The health and safety standards adhered to, by online meal delivery services to ensure the quality and safety of their products cannot be overlooked. This includes proper handling, storage, and transportation of food items, as well as compliance with food safety regulations and guidelines.

Despite the numerous benefits offered by the online business of ready-made meals, in terms of convenience, variety, and access to quality food, it also presents challenges related to cost, packaging waste, freshness, and health considerations that should thoroughly be examined by individuals before making a decision as to what method to take in consuming a good, rich, and healthy diet.