Food delivered by phone, app, website or go to the store?

Truthfully spoken, I started this post because I was hungry and thinking about what to eat. As a student who sometimes forget to do grocerie shopping, the app “Thuisbezorgd” is my savior. For my fellow (future) hungry readers: Thuisbezorgd is an universal app that has an assortment of delivery restaurant. You can order sushi or pizza. Internationally the company is also known as “Takeaway”.

The company has an average of 20 euro spent per meal and every customer orders on average 4 times a year in the Netherlands alone. The FSIN estimates that the revenue of all variants of food order is easily above 1 miljard euro. They also noted that in 2013 640 mln euros was generated on online food orders, 2014 it was 665 and in 2015 it is expected to be 680 in the Netherlands( Smit 2015). There is real shift in the way consumer order food, and online is taking over.

Even though Thuisbezorgd is market leader in The Netherlands and Belgium and generates millions in revenue, the company still makes a few million euro loss. The founder, Jitse Groen, explained that this is a deliberate choice of the company. In the fifteen years  of operating, the company could have make profit, but because of the fierce competition they decided to invest in grow. In three years he expects to make profit. The reason to still heavily invest in grow is that the customers are apparently loyal to the first online food order service they use.

An interesting note is the reaction of the offline competitors. Supermarkets like Albert Heijn and Jumbo already started online groceries shopping and delivery services. Even though it is a starting service and the profit margin is low, these household names are convinced that they need to experiment with online orders and take the marketshare. A few web supermarkets, like MaxFoodMarket, BoodschappenXL, have appeared, but couldn’t keep their operations going

What do you guys think. Will traditional supermarkets be able to dominate the websupermaket era to come. Or will it be an dedicated online supermarket that will transform the landscape? Can you imagine doing your groceries online?

Author: I.R. Anijs
SDID 347015


Keuning, W., Smit, R. (2015) “Picnic kijkt kunst af van platsoendienst en postbode”, Het Financieel Dagblad, 20 augustus 2015

Smit, R. (2015) “Bestelsites voor eten verkiezen snelle groei boven winst”, Het Financieel Dagblad, 27 augustus 2015

Zuiderveld, U. (2015)


5 responses to “Food delivered by phone, app, website or go to the store?”

  1. gabriellapimpao says :

    Very briefly yes I can very easily imagine myself doing shopping online. Actually I already did that when I was home for the summer in Hungary: my mum uses the online delivery services of the biggest Hungarian discount groceries store Tesco (perhaps you know it from the UK) and I found it extremely convenient to do shopping there, I even decided once I will be working again (no student budget anymore and less free time during the day) I will start ordering groceries home because it makes life so much easier in my opinion.
    This has a few downsides though one of them being that you need to think quite ahead with reserving your spot few (2-4 days) in advance and also planning what will you need (not just going into the shop and buy stuff based on your current feelings). For planners this is not a problem but for those who like more to decide in the minute this can be a negative.
    On the positives though I think it is really good for your budget: you don’t buy 1-4-10 things that look nice but you haven’t though of buying them before or you don’t even need them 🙂

  2. deepanshursm says :

    Yes, I have done online grocery shopping before and I believe it is going to be a booming category in the e-retailing segment. I hail from India where online grocery shopping has become quite popular in the past couple of years. In fact quite a few startups have sprung up and as a student I find them really helpful. Imagine a situation where a student has a week full of assignments and quizzes and simply has no time for groceries. On such occasions, such online services are a big help.
    Apart from students, these services will also cater to the working professionals who typically return late from work and don’t find time to purchase groceries during weekdays. Working professionals can easily order groceries if they find free time during their work hours. If you are someone who commutes a lot, online grocery really saves you the pain of commuting again on a weekend just for the sake of groceries.
    The only downside I see with this is that one cannot verify the freshness of a packet of strawberries or a bag of vegetables while purchasing online. Some people who are very particular in choosing what they eat in terms of quality and freshness may stay away from such online services.

    All in all, I find them a big help to most people like me who like to have things at their fingertips and do not mind the odd bad apple in the grocery bag. My verdict is online grocery ordering through apps will dominate in the years to come. 🙂

  3. lindatram7 says :

    First of all, nice blog post! It has definitely inspired me to go deeper into the subject of online (grocery) shopping.

    But to answer your question: right now, I cannot imagine myself doing (daily) groceries online, and that’s because offline grocery shopping is a habit, and of course that does not just apply to me. I think for those people who have the time to do groceries, there is no actual need yet for online grocery shopping. I see the convenience but being able to go to the store and see the products on the shelves is still a much better experience so I prefer that more, as long as I have the time to go the store, which is nearby too. It’s an experience that online grocery shopping won’t be able to replicate, same goes for online shopping with clothes, which I personally only do if something is not available in-store.

    However, for those people who have less time or who are constantly busy, of course the online availability is great and it really depends on the (target) market. Based on a case study of Nielsen (2015) online grocery shopping is the most popular in Asia compared to other continents. E-commerce potential is the biggest in Asia (most of all China) and it that does numerous reasons, such as that rapid urbanization makes the home delivery model economically viable, and of because of their food safety concerns they are driven in search of high quality products online. So will traditional supermarkets be able to dominate the websupermaket era? I can’t really answer a yes or no, I think that depends on the country or area you live in, and whether consumers will feel the need for it and are they willing to switch? In terms of dominating, maybe not, but I don’t think web-supermarkets will dominate traditional supermarkets in The Netherlands. But of course, technology will advance even more and it is most likely that the next generation, and younger children, will more be making use of online (grocery) shopping.

    Speaking of Tesco, in response to Gabriella, they came up with a virtual supermarket in South-Korea which has proven to be a huge success. It is online grocery shopping but consumers are able to see the products virtually on shelves which is more user-friendly and this was aimed at busy people who are always on the go. Even though there is not much need for it in The Netherlands, or maybe any other country in Europe, if something like that does become available and they could start with an experiment right?, I think many people are definitely willing to use it. I know I would be using it! 🙂

  4. jjjvdmeulen says :

    Yes, I would order my groceries online at a retailer like There are Some upsides and Some downsides. The downsides are that you pay a fee and that you have to spend à minimum amount on groceries. The upsides are that you do not have to leave Your home. During The winter this is a big advantage. The second advantage is that you only buy what you were intended to buy. You do not fall in the marketing tricks from for example Albert Heijn of spreading the smell of fresh Bread so that you Will by more products than you were intended to do. Another advantage is that you do groceries for multiple days and you do not need to carry them on your bike, before I used the online grocery service I did my groceries at least once à day. For me the advantages completely way up against THE disadvantages.
    I think online grocery shopping will grow in the next couple of years, you see the online growth in every sector. Shopping for groceries is the type of shopping you do the most so why should this not change from offline to online.
    There are still al lot of opportunities for companies like Albert Heijn is now trying, e.g. offer a weakly changing dinner menu and you just have to click on one button and you have the groceries for dinner for a weak.
    Albert Also offers a third possibility that is also becoming more popular, the pickup point. When you use the pickup point you order the groceries online but instead of delivery you pick up your own groceries at a pickup point. I think the online groceries market will grow but this will not replace the physical stores because a lot of people will still feel and see the things they buy.

  5. 439362ss says :

    In India, it is very common to buy groceries online, especially in cities like Bangalore, which is the IT capital of India where people are very comfortable with online transactions. I myself, have purchased groceries online when I was working. One of the good options provided by these grocery delivery firms is that you can choose the time of delivery of the items. So, it works very well for working professionals.

    The only restriction with online grocery shopping is the validation of the items purchased. The items delivered could be expired or with a near expiry date. Another issue is about the vegetables or meat being fresh or not. In India, such firms offer the option of cash on delivery so you can pay when the items are delivered to you and not before. To an extent these issues are mitigated with the cash on delivery option. However, I don’t foresee the same model followed in Netherlands where a majority of the transactions are done by card and not by cash. But with well-known super markets offering online shopping options, like the author mentioned about Albert Heijn and Jumbo, I feel their brand value will instill the trust about the quality of the product.

    That being said, the main reason why online grocery shopping is increasingly becoming popular in India is because of the heavy road traffic in India which increases travel time by an enormous amount. Thus, for working people, it poses a huge issue. In Netherlands, where a majority of the work is through self-service and also the traffic on the roads is not a limitation, I am doubtful whether the online grocery shopping model will be as popular. It is debatable though as online shopping does offer a lot of additional advantages also. But, it will definitely not replace the existing physical stores.

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