Daily Markup #34: Food delivery is on the rise and it won’t change anytime soon

The new normal for consumer food habits.

Changing consumer food habits

  • Food delivery is having quite a moment right now. As people are urged to stay home, there has been a surge of demand in food delivery services across Southeast Asia. Think about it: You likely had Grab to deliver your meals for the past week.
  • 500-backed Grab’s food delivery arm, GrabFood has seen a sharp increase in food orders in SEA countries. In Malaysia, demand has grown by more than 30% compared to the week before the Movement Control Order (MCO). The company has seen a 20% increase in GrabFood orders during the pandemic in neighboring Singapore.
Credit: The Straits Times
  • According to a survey, GrabFood is the most popular food delivery app in Vietnam with a 79% market share.
  • These statistics signal a change in eating habits that might remain even after the pandemic is over. A study conducted by Nielsen in 11 Asian markets found that people are prioritizing eating at home and the on-to-go convenience that food deliveries provide. Nielsen predicts these behaviors to stay and become “new norms”

It’s game time

  • The Nintendo Switch may be basking in its newfound glory with demand skyrocketing worldwide, but in Indonesia and Vietnam, the crown belongs to the 7-coming-to-8-year-old PlayStation 4.
  • This is citing a study by 500-backed iPrice which had gauged what gaming consoles were Southeast Asian gamers searching for during this period.
Credit: iPrice
  • iPrice based the analysis on 1.5 million searches made on online shopping websites spanning across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, and Hong Kong.
Credit: iPrice
  • All things considered, the Nintendo Switch, largely popularized by the new Animal Crossing game, is still the most beloved gaming console in the region with search interest shot up by 245%. By comparison, interests for the PS4 only increased by 135%.
  • Check out the full study here.

Agritech helps India’s farmers

  • India accounts for 7.68% of total global agricultural output and roughly 49% of its workforce is in this sector.
  • Farmers are producing now more than ever before to meet increasing demand. But the pandemic has disrupted supply chains causing communications to fray between suppliers and farmers.


  • For 500-backed agri-tech startup FarMart, setting up a mobile app that can effectively connect merchants to farmers can help to mitigate this issue.
  • Through prompt SMS alerts, FarMart lets merchants inform their farmers about store serving timings, inventory matters, and weather advisories.
  • “This feature has been a great hit amongst our merchant base and is helping us acquire other merchants organically,” Alekh Sanghera, co-founder, and CEO of FarMart tells Inc42.
  • Ultimately, FarMart hopes to improve this cycle by enabling merchants to better track and understand the needs of the farmers they serve, and, in turn, create positive outcomes for those farmers.

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500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. In Southeast Asia, 500 Startups invests through the pioneering 500 Southeast Asia family of funds. The 500 Southeast Asia funds have backed over 240 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology. It continues to connect founders with capital, expertise and powerful regional and global networks to help them succeed.

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