China’s food delivery sector continues to grow

By Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/30 0:23:39

Online takeaway platforms like and Meituan dominate most of the Chinese market for food ordering apps. Photo: Li Hao/GT

As the Chinese food delivery and takeout sector continues to see rapid growth, calls are rising for the industry to pay more attention to its vast environmental footprint, in particular its reliance on single-use plastics. 

Data analysis company Analysys International said the overall transaction size of China's takeaway market will reach 195.29 billion yuan ($27.4 billion), up 35 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2019.

On Meituan Dianping and, the two most widely-used food delivery apps in China, users under 24 account for 52.59 percent and 65.27 percent of the market, found iiMedia Research, a Shenzhen-based data mining and analysis organization.  

Meanwhile, environmental experts said it would take over 30 years for polypropylene used in delivery containers and cutlery packs to break down if they are buried in landfill.  

Observers said the expansion of the food delivery market shows the changes in Chinese people's lifestyle, which is closely related with the progress of China's scientific innovation and mobile internet industry. 

"People choose takeouts for convenience and to save time. Takeout apps on phones provide a greater variety of food for young people to choose from," Lu Zhenwang, founder of Shanghai Wanqing Commerce Consulting, told the Global Times on Sunday.

According to Lu, the whole delivery system, including proficiency of delivery staff, has improved. Substandard restaurants have been deleted by delivery platforms, which is an attractive element to many young consumers. 

In an online poll by National Business Daily on Saturday on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, nearly 23 percent of the 40,000 respondents admitted they ordered takeout every day and almost 52 percent said they ordered takeout one to five times a week. 

According to Lu, with Chinese becoming more and more wealthy, the takeout industry will continue to see steady growth of 10-20 percent in the next five to six years. 

The hashtag "Chinese takeout food consumption reaches 195.29 billion yuan" has quickly become one of the most-discussed topics on Weibo. Besides those who were amazed about the large number, some net users said they were concerned about the environmental issues behind the industry.   

"Government should make mandatory provisions for the use of biodegradable tableware in the takeout industry," Luo Yameng, a Beijing-based urban planning and eco-city expert, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

According Luo, as Meituan Dianping and cover more than 90 percent of the takeout market, the two platforms should be regulated by the government in terms of promotion of biodegradable tableware.  

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