This has been an unprecedented year for business, with all manner of manufacturers, travel entities, and retailers shutting their doors amid the global coronavirus pandemic. As communities around the world remain in lockdown to inhibit the spread of the virus, one sector is thriving: food delivery.
Instead of eating out at their favorite restaurants, people are now having food brought to them. Even grocery shopping has moved online, prompting many people to turn to apps that allow them to purchase all their weekly necessities without stepping foot in a physical store.
The Middle East, in particular, has seen a boom in food and grocery delivery startups, as home-bound customers are placing orders in higher volumes than ever before. Let’s look at some of the startups that are delivering meals and groceries to locals:
Nana is a Saudi Arabian startup that allows its users to order groceries with little hassle. The first startup of its kind to provide delivery services to residents of the Kingdom, it provides coverage to an ever-increasing number of areas. Nana works with both supermarkets and smaller grocery stores to ensure that its clientele can find everything they need. Users can peruse the inventories of their favorite grocers, schedule deliveries, and even pay directly in the app. Nana then dispatches a skilled team of shoppers to source the best quality items for each order before bringing them right to the client’s doorstep.
After securing $6.6 million in funding during a Series A round in 2019, Nana recently took in additional investments totaling $18 million. This funding will support the company as it scales its capacity to meet rising demand nationwide.
Omani startup MarkeetEx, which raised $1 million in seed funding in early 2020, has seen its weekly order volume rise by 350 percent in recent months. The startup has built an online marketplace where customers can shop for groceries as well as other household items, electronics, and more at competitive prices. MarkeetEx delivers seven days a week and fulfills orders within 120 minutes of receiving them.
Dubai-based entrepreneurs Mickael Costache and Nader Amiri launched el Grocer in 2015, leveraging equity crowdfunding to fund their business. They have since built their startup into one of the most in-demand online grocery shopping platforms in the UAE. El Grocer features a catalog of more than 40,000 items that customers can purchase at store prices. Whether they prefer major supermarkets or tiny corner shops, customers can find their favorite stores on el Grocer and have their essentials delivered to them.
Dailymealz is a unique food delivery service that focuses solely on serving local businesses in major Saudi Arabian cities. The startup offers one-week, two-week, or monthly lunch subscription options, making it easy for employers to provide their employees with healthy, delicious meals each day.
Most recently, as the majority of the Saudi workforce is no longer working in the office, Dailymealz has been delivering meals directly to its subscribers. In April 2020, the startup also announced a new partnership with local retailer Panda to sell grocery baskets to clients in Riyadh, with hopes to expand soon to other cities.
Talabat provides delivery services from thousands of restaurants, supermarkets, and other shops in six countries across the MENA region. Through its vast network, the startup allows locals to search for virtually anything they may need, whether it’s a pizza delivery or their weekly groceries.
Using the Talabat app, shoppers can easily search for the items they want most using filters and smart search tools. They can even save their favorites to their Talabat accounts, which expedites the ordering process for future purchases. As they place their orders, users can request deliveries on demand or schedule them for a time that is more convenient for them.
Since its launch in 2013, GoodsMart has provided customers in Egypt with a smarter, more convenient way to purchase groceries. The startup partners with local stores to offer baked goods, meat, and even pharmacy items to locals. GoodsMart delivers orders to its clients’ doors, utilizing a contactless delivery system to maximize convenience and safety. Customers can schedule daily deliveries or build repeat orders on a weekly or monthly basis.
Headquartered in Cairo, Yumamia provides its users with access to healthy meal options at affordable rates. Over the last six years, the startup has developed a line of frozen food that locals can have delivered to their doors in as little as an hour. Clients can either pay with cash or make online payments if they prefer contactless delivery.
Yumamia’s food line uses fresh, natural ingredients in each dish. The startup freezes and vacuum packs these preservative-free meals to ensure that they remain fresh for as long as possible. Yumamia also adheres to an array of food safety standards, including all recent instructions from the World Health Organization.