Skip to content

Food delivery services in Germany realise a peak since the Covid19 outbreak: Time to think about reusable packaging

Before the Corona outbreak, online food delivery services were already growing rapidly. This increase is realising a further boost due to people reaching out to home delivery. Some merely want to give their daily home-cooking routine a break, others are facing the impossibility to leave the house for safety reasons, and yet others are too lazy to cook and miss grabbing a Kebab around the corner for dinner. 

Food delivery services quickly realised their advantage in these times of social distancing, and adjusted to ‘non-contact delivery’. Around the globe, food delivery companies are releasing a spike in sales since the outbreak of Covid19. 

German news have also covered this trend. Although home delivery was not as popular before the crisis, given the choice of many people to voluntarily or forcibly self-isolate, many do occasionally or completely step over to picking up the food at their doorstep. 

Disposable Packaging is anything but good for the Environment…

It is great to see how the market responds to consumer needs, which are in this case related to serious safety measures. But disposable packaging is anything good for the environment. We asked what the German consumer thinks about reusable packaging for delivery food.

Within the next 4 years, 4.1 million users per year are expected to order food via online platforms, around 41 % more than in 2019. This is reflected even more clearly in the sales forecast for the market. Here, sales in Germany are expected to be around EUR 333.6 million in 2023. 

Food packaging is already causing major problems to the environment. Those receiving deliveries are likely to receive their food in plastic packaging. Packaging made of polystyrene, or “expanded polystyrene” in the technical jargon, is particularly problematic. Although it is light, stable and can keep food warm or cold, and is also extremely cheap, the ecological footprint is not nearly as convenient. Its production uses petroleum, it is not biodegradable and it is not easy to recycle.

©Image by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

In the long term, the problem will have to be tackled by the EU. In March of 2019, the European Parliament voted in favour of a ban on the sale of disposable plastic products from 2021 onwards. But what happens in the meantime? Now is the moment for restaurants, snack bars and food delivery services to think about how to deal with the ban and which alternatives they want to offer. This is a great opportunity for the companies that are already working with the production of sustainable or even reusable packaging. 


But what about the willingness of German consumers to recycle packaging?

Relevant insights are provided by the Colibri study by Dalia Research, who conducted a consumer survey on the topic of “Reusable packaging for food delivery services” in Germany. The survey was conducted among 1051 participants and asked about consumers’ interest and willingness to pay a surcharge for reusable packaging as well as their preferred materials and return options. 

The results are most surprising among the respondents who regularly order food from food delivery services (47%). In this group, environmental awareness seems to be already pronounced, with almost 80% of respondents stating that they are interested in using reusable packaging. Equally surprising is that the willingness to pay a surcharge is very pronounced. 82% of Germans are prepared to pay an average of EUR 2.20 more for reusable packaging from an order of €10 upwards. The amount is even higher among young people, who would even be willing to pay EUR 2.70 on top. 

Promising figures regarding the future of both delivery services and producers of sustainable take-away packaging. Whether the consumer is really willing to pay more remains to be seen. In any case, it won’t be long before online food delivery services have to take appropriate measures. 

©Image by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash©Image by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

If you are considering entering the German Market with your food brand, the odds seem promising if you adapt to online platforms and delivery systems. Yet, it is also a good moment to think about packaging and how you intend to run deliveries. It might be an extra effort now, but it will surely pay off in the future. 

CONTINUE READING: German Businesses might recover faster from the Corona crisis