A recent Nielsen survey asked South Africans which products they wish were on the market, but are currently not available.
In an analysis of the survey results, the Franchising Association of South Africa (FASA) noted that one issue kept resurfacing – convenience.
The association noted that while convenience means different things to different consumers, all are underpinned by consumers’ search for ease, utility and simplicity in three areas: consumption, shopping and engagement experiences.
Meals on demand
This area of convenience has seen the biggest uptake in the ready prepared and on-the-go meal solutions, home or office grocery delivery offerings, FASA said.
The survey showed that one third (34%) of South African consumers are now using restaurant deliveries (e.g. Uber Eats and Mr Delivery) or meal kit services (e.g. UCook and Daily Dish) – up from 29% in 2017, and 19% in 2016.
This has likely been helped by large retailers getting in the action, with Checkers launching its own in-store ‘Ready to Chef’ meal kit service.
Developed by chefs, each meal kit consists of fresh ingredients and a step-by-step recipe card with a QR code to a how-to video.
The Ready to Chef meal kits are priced between R119.99 and R179.99 per meal for two people and are available in four different recipes – including a vegetarian option.
Despite being hit by South Africa’s tough economy and consumers tightening their belts, Nielsen’s data showed that 63% of local consumers had visited a fast food outlet in the past six months, 55% opting for casual dining and 34% visiting a formal restaurant.
According to the survey, lunch and dinner are the meals most likely to be substituted with out-of-home dining options – with half opting to eat out on a monthly basis, 18% weekly and 31% less often.
“Technological innovation will be one of the key drivers of growth for the fast food industry in the future. In South Africa, it has become particularly important for fast food franchises to ensure they have effective systems in place that enable consumers to order and buy online,” FASA said.
“A rapidly growing number of consumers are opting for the convenience of online delivery services when purchasing fast food.
“Currently, Mr D Food and UberEats are South Africa’s top two online ordering platforms.”
Mr D Food, which is owned by multinational Naspers, has a network of over 1,400 restaurants and delivers to over 1,900 suburbs in South Africa, while UberEats has a network of approximately 1,200 restaurants across Gauteng and Cape Town.