Rushikesh Aravkar
Rushikesh is Mintel's Food & Drink Analyst based in Mumbai. He is responsible for providing insights and fresh analysis on India's food and beverage market.

COVID-19 is changing consumer habits globally as well as in India – everything from how we shop for groceries and cook to how we consume food. The government-mandated lockdown and social isolation have prompted Indian consumers to look at alternate routes to purchase food and drink essentials.

An increasing number of consumers have resorted to shopping online for groceries and essentials. In fact, online grocery providers like Amazon, Supr Daily, and Big Basket had to cancel orders or stagger their supply to cater to the increased demand.

Collaboration is key

Mintel Trend ‘Straight To You’ highlights how consumers are expecting products and services to be brought directly to them, wherever they are. It highlights how, although on-demand services may not be viable for some businesses, there are a number of companies whose sole purpose is enabling deliveries—partnering with these companies would allow the ‘Straight to You’ model to be more widely embraced.

This trend is now seen in action more than ever, with FMCG companies in India coming together to leverage their core expertise and ensure consumers get the essential goods they need at their doorstep during these challenging times.

Uber, the company best known for its taxi service, has forged partnerships with online retail platforms Spencer’s Retail and Big Basket. The idea is to leverage Uber’s fleet of drivers to deliver groceries to consumers.

The COVID-19 situation has also prompted major FMCG brands, which have strong and widespread distribution networks across the country, to evaluate and adopt new models to achieve the last-mile delivery to its consumers.

In a first-of-its-kind move, ITC Limited has announced a tie-up with a QSR chain Jubilant FoodWorks, the master franchisee of Domino’s Pizza chain, for doorstep delivery of essential commodities. With this initiative, a combo of ITC’s owned brand of flour and spices will be available for order through the Domino’s app and will be delivered using Domino’s zero-contact delivery service.

Source: twitter.com

Similarly, Marico has partnered with online food delivery aggregators such as Swiggy and Zomato to help deliver essential food items under Marico’s portfolio which includes oils and oats.

Britannia Industries has partnered with the Bengaluru-based hyperlocal delivery provider Dunzo to deliver its range of biscuits, croissants, ghee, and dairy whitener (to name a few) to its consumers through the newly minted Britannia Essentials store that will be available for users of the Dunzo app.

Interestingly, Dunzo and Bengaluru-based drone maker Throttle Aerospace Systems got the green light from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to test their long-range drone delivery solutions last month. As drone technology evolves and regulations fall in place, drone deliveries will further disrupt the way in which brands serve their consumers. The current lockdown exemplifies the need for contactless and autonomous deliveries, which can be efficiently handled by unmanned drones.

What we think

Even when the issues surrounding COVID-19 are resolved, consumer expectations with regards to deliveries will continue to grow. As companies devise innovative strategies to serve and offer convenience to their consumers during the lockdown, delivery services through apps and social media will continue to grow and become the new norm even after the lockdown ends.

It is pertinent for FMCG brands to collaborate with the right partners to leverage their strengths so as to better serve consumers by enabling seamless last-mile delivery of products and services. Such collaborative partnerships forged, and consumer loyalty earned, during this period will continue to benefit the brands in the long-term.