5132 C02 Augmented Ordering

Source: Deliveroo

Deliveroo predicts customers may be able to smell different meal options through their smartphones before deciding what to order on its app by 2040.

The feature would help consumers “reduce time deciding between a wide selection of cuisines and dishes” the company said, and more easily “decide between a burrito or poke bowl”.

The ‘smell-o-vision’ style tool is one of several futuristic concepts put forward in Deliveroo-commissioned report Snack To The Future.

Other concepts predicted for 2040 include the rise of ‘me-ganism’ which would involve a customer’s ‘personal AI’ providing meal recommendations based on their physiological and psychological state at any given time.

“In a category like ours where we provide a massive catalogue of meals, there’s definitely a role we can play in providing a discoverability function that fulfils this need,” Carlo Mocci, chief business officer UK&I at Deliveroo, says in the report.

“Say someone has 450 calories available for dinner, had a heavy lunch and has no space for more carbohydrates, we might recommend a new dish from a restaurant that will make their nutritional goals for the day,” he adds.

Recommendations could come as the result of the Deliveroo app holding a natural conversation with a customer, or involve ‘breath prints’ where a consumer’s breath is analysed to diagnose their current state of health and recommend food accordingly.

“There’s a huge opportunity to hyper-personalise the food people eat in the future. Most meal delivery apps today do not talk to people in a way that shows they know them enough, and so I think that is the opportunity we have with emerging technologies,” says Deliveroo’s chief product and technology officer Devesh Mishra in the report.

“When thinking about the future of food delivery and enjoyment, we should focus on things which are not going to change. People will want meals tailored to what they can afford, tailored to their needs, and delivered whenever and wherever they want,” Mishra adds.

The report also explores the possibility of customers having wall-sized digital screens or virtual reality headsets that act “as a portal to connect real-time to other people’s homes or elsewhere in the world” so they can dine in alone at home, but with others in an alternative or fantasy location. Further augmented reality could make a real life meal look like another.

5134 C04 Home + Away Dining

Source: Deliveroo

“I could easily imagine children in the future that don’t like to eat their vegetables, putting on smart glasses and thinking they are eating candy. Technologies like this could trick people’s brains into thinking they are eating something more adventurous, luxurious or indulgent,” says report contributor Kaave Pour, co-founder of Space10, Ikea’s independent research and design lab.

The global meal delivery market is set to grow from £278m in 2023 to £784m in 2040, according to Statista. Deliveroo said “to remain competitive in this thriving market” meal delivery companies will need to innovate “how people immerse themselves in food experiences”.

Further research commissioned by Deliveroo reveals nearly a fifth of those surveyed said they were looking forward to virtual dining, while a similar proportion were eager to virtually smell and taste their takeaways before choosing an order.

“As we look towards the next decade and beyond, Deliveroo will continue to create exciting new innovations in food delivery, build new and better consumer experiences and take Deliveroo beyond functionality and convenience to really capture the passion and emotion of food,” said Deliveroo CEO and founder Will Shu.