For Australians living in metropolitan areas, food delivery cars, motorcycles and bicycles are a common enough sight. UberEATS, Deliveroo, the traditional pizza-delivery chains—all of them can be seen buzzing around the city delivering food to the hungry masses. But could a new service already being used in Asia mean more opportunities to Australian primary producers and restaurants?
MLA (Meat and Livestock Australia) recently presented to producers, wholesalers and retailers at the Global Market Forum in March. One of the key presentations, for MLA South East Asia manager, Andrew Simpson highlighted the initiative of delivery firm GoJek in Indonesia to bring more than just takeaway food to consumers.
The Indonesian delivery app offers consumers the chance to order groceries, wine, meat, traditional takeaway and more, from their phone. The app connects consumers with drivers, and will bring just about anything to your door, for around $1. After huge success in Jakarta, GoJek expanded into Bali, and then further throughout Indonesia. Now employing over 250,000 delivery riders, the business is clearly enjoying great success. It is winning against its silicon valley start-ups like Uber for several reasons, according to theconversation.com:
“With the current version of its app you can organise pickup by scooter or car, book a truck to move boxes, book movie tickets, get groceries delivered from the local market and, even, have a masseur and beauty therapist waiting for you when you get home.”
Rapid Growth in Demand
This deliver-anything business model is ideally suited to the Indonesian market, due to the prolificity of scooters and motorcycles, and the ease of entry into the market for riders. Riders, in an increasingly ‘gig-based economy’ are also winners in the scenario so far. As the demand has rapidly grown for riders in Indonesia, and in other markets such as Singapore, so too have the wages. Riders are able to enjoy relatively well-paid jobs, work their own hours and determine just how much they’d like to earn. In an interview with Asia One, delivery rider Gerry Tan reports that his income has risen by 80%—from $,2000 per month, to around $3,600 since starting with Singapore’s What to Eat delivery service. While the hours can be demanding for some full-time riders, Tan is happy for the opportunity to make such an increase on his income.
“I find the pay rewarding. As a diploma-holder just out of army, I would expect to earn about $2,100. I haven’t made plans to leave,” hey says.
But could it work in Australia?
If current trends are anything to go by, this delivery by two wheels is already taking off, however it’s limited to takeaway food for the most part.
Australian producers and wholesalers could save substantial sums on expensive bricks-and-mortar cold storage houses by selling meat and groceries directly to the public from their major warehouses, or even from the place of production; perhaps a ‘farmers market come to you’ concept.
Furthermore, restaurants and cafes have the potential to get in on this new concept to bring more food to more of their customers. As the existing delivery services are rapidly expanding, bringing on more riders/drivers and more restaurants, keen entrepreneurs have the opportunity to begin their own delivery services with as little infrastructure as a payment gateway and a mobile app.
This presents exciting opportunities for both catering businesses, and those wanting to become riders (or drivers) who work for themselves. We may soon begin to see even more of these services pop up in the Australian market, with the expanded delivery options that GoJek, for example, are offering.
The supermarket giants have offered home delivery of groceries for years now, and this ease and convenience fills a gap in the market for time-poor and even house-bound consumers.
“There is always a catch, and in Asia that is the cheaper Brazilian beef, when it is not fighting corruption and meat taint scandals back home,” says Simpson, in relation to the Indonesian marketplace. “Cheaper buffalo meat from India, which comes in ready-to-prepare, 500-gram small packs, direct for retail, also presents competition.”
Simpson goes further, explaining that for Australian producers to be a real part of this innovation, they need to adapt their packaging standards to suit the delivery market. Traditional, large-format meat packaging such as the standard 27.2kg carton size need to go, in order to make this kind of endeavour viable. Digital disruption poses an imminent and very real threat to many Australian businesses, and with a clear rise in apps and services aimed at filling market gaps in convenience, food and delivery, it is almost non-negotiable that businesses wanting to survive and thrive must get on board. Indonesia and other Asian markets are showing Australian business a thing or two about diversity of service, and the obvious demand for it.
How soon will we see these kinds of services take off in Australia? It’s only a matter of time, really.