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It’s 11.00 am on a lazy Sunday morning. The sun thrusts its blinding rays into your face. You bury your face deeper into your pillow and pull the sheets closer to your chin, drowsily denying the morning call of a new day. It has been a long, drawn out unforgiving week and the weekend you so lustfully desired is finally here. You vowed that nothing would put you and your bed asunder, but the music from the nearby church seems to conspire against you.
Finally, you peel your eyes open with an unenthusiastic groan. You stagger out of bed, tripping over your pants, bag and God-knows-what else you left lying on the floor last night. Surely you must have some experience in the sprint hurdles at the Olympics for you to get to the kitchen with your legs still attached.
In a sleepy stupor, you rummage for something to quiet your angry stomach. It seems like ages since you last ate something and you can feel your muscles withering away under your skin. The cooking pots betray a reality that it has been aeons since you last cooked and the last remaining egg in the tray spits contempt at your groggy face.
You turn to the fridge for some solace and the yawning emptiness echoes back at you. A half-eaten plate of githeri shivers in the corner as a rancid bag of veggies breathes its last below it. The situation is dire. The cool air of the fridge caresses your cheek as you shut the door, heralding the coming of the cold kiss of death. Death by starvation.
You contemplate your short life and meagre achievements, wishing you would die with some more dignity. After all, the worth of a man is measured by the girth and stuffing of his fridge. “What will people say?” You wonder as you curl yourself into a ball, waiting for the warm embrace of demise.
Suddenly the buzz of your phone momentarily jolts you back to life. With your dying breaths and with unrivalled determination, you vow to check the ‘Gram once more, even if it’s the last thing you do. The phone casts a wan light on your face and for a split second, your face glows with some joie de vivre. But it’s another ill omen as Safaricom reminds you to pay your long overdue Okoa Jahazi loan.
However, like a dying star, a spark of brilliance lights up and you marvel at the wonders of technology. With a few clicks, you order your favourite, high-calorie, greasy meal from a fast-food chain. Not all hope is lost. You’ll live to fight another day and perhaps settle affairs with your fridge.
While this may not be the reality of all Kenyans, it certainly paints a picture of what spurred the food and beverages industry to the Ksh 1.8 Billion industry it is today, that is projected to be worth Ksh 3.8 Billion by 2024. Riding on the back of rapid and proliferating internet penetration in Kenya, the food delivery business has been growing exponentially over the past few years.
With large market players such as Uber Eats, Glovo, Jumia Food and a host of other food delivery providers, Kenyans have an assortment of offerings to select from when ordering food online. Currently, pizza is the most ordered food on these platforms, closely followed by chicken and burgers. Groceries are also seeing a bull run on these platforms, and more so since the pandemic confined many to their homes.
The accommodation and services industry in Kenya is estimated to be growing at twice the rate of real GDP growth. The food delivery business itself is set to grow by 3.5% every year according to a McKinsey report and Jumia, a leading e-commerce company in Kenya and Africa, projects the food delivery business to grow by 50% by 2021.
With an 87% internet penetration in Kenya, more and more Kenyans are finding it easier to access services online through their smartphones. This has been a catalyst for the e-commerce industry and restaurants incorporating online delivery are now seeing a windfall. Growth in the sector has been further fuelled by an increased desire for convenience, low delivery costs and availability of cheaper grocery alternatives.
While other sectors have seen a fall in business since COVID-19, it seems to have been a boon for food delivery services which have seen an uptick in orders of up to 200% for some platforms. 33% more Kenyans are now shopping online and 71% more Kenyans have made their first grocery purchase online since COVID. 3 out of 10 more Kenyans are now more likely to purchase groceries online.
The food delivery industry in Kenya bears credence to the vitality, resilience of the Kenyan market that is rife with opportunity. A reflection of the Kenyan spirit to keep abreast with change and testament to the potential technology awake lying within us, much like our hero who falls into a deep sleep after ravenously gorging himself on the spoils of his online purchase.