Melanie Nambiar
Melanie is Mintel's Southeast Asia Trends Analyst based in the Kuala Lumpur office, focusing on how intriguing innovations and thought-provoking regulations impact consumer behaviour in the region and vice versa.

GrabFood Thailand, a food delivery service, has recently rolled out a new feature that allows users to share free meals with their delivery drivers. On the app’s homepage, the “Buy 1 Share 1 for the driver” function leads the user to a list of restaurants that allow them to pick a meal for themselves as well as their driver. The extra meal selected for the driver will be free of charge.

Non-medical frontline workers, such as delivery people, are out-performing their usual duties despite the health risks they face and are helping to keep the economy running. Consumers have been quick to show their gratitude, often by tipping them or by buying them a meal. Realising this, GrabFood was quick to respond, adding a new feature on its app that allows consumers to demonstrate their generosity in a simple way.

According to Mintel research, over two-thirds of Thai consumers say they prefer to be associated with companies/brands that align with their values. It is becoming imperative for brands, especially at a time like this, to demonstrate their ethical and moral qualities and tackle the social issues that consumers care about.

Mintel Trend ‘Giving Back’ highlights how people are creating their own ways to help those in need. Looking ahead, consumers are going to become more interested in the philanthropic efforts of the companies they buy from and highlighting socially-minded endeavours will help brands stand out from the crowd.

For example, RedDoorz, a budget hotel start-up headquartered in Singapore, is providing free rooms for frontline healthcare workers in Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia during the COVID-19 pandemic. McDo Kindness Kitchen in the Philippines aims to support frontliners during the crisis by providing 50,000 free meals.

What we think

Mintel’s 2030 Global Consumer Trend ‘Rights’ – one of Mintel’s 7 Drivers – discusses how corporate responsibility will become the norm and a key measure of performance in the years to come. As such, the networks, platforms, and initiatives created during the COVID-19 outbreak have the potential to remain in place well after the pandemic is over. The brands that show their commitment to giving back, helping communities, and driving change are the ones that will be recognised and favoured.