Online food ordering and delivery platforms are now in collaboration with restaurants to produce and deliver meals for seniors, as there is enormous market potential in this age bracket.
About 40 percent of seniors said they need healthy and nourishing meals in a recent survey conducted by the China National Committee on Aging.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China was home to 250 million people aged 60 years or above by the end of 2018, indicating the potential for online food ordering and delivery.
To make use of this opportunity, online platforms, such as Ele.me and Meituan, have teamed up with restaurants offering meal services for the elderly community.
Some cities have improved delivery services so that the food is sent to seniors customers in a timely manner.
For instance, Guangzhou recently released a guideline to guarantee that elderly residents can enjoy more efficient meal ordering and delivery services. The guideline requires urban planners to establish more delivery stations to reduce food delivery time.
The takeaway service has won the hearts of some seniors. A resident surnamed Zhang in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality said that by using her mobile phone, dinner would be delivered to her doorstep in a matter of minutes. Before she had access to these services, it took a lot of work for her to cook a meal while taking care of her husband, who uses a wheelchair.
Despite the growing market, restaurants struggle to make a profit because they sell meals at a relatively low price to attract consumers, and they pay administrative fees to the platform.
Tong Jingsong, a researcher with the China Research Center on Aging, suggested online platforms provide a set of services including food delivery, housekeeping and nursing care to help increase their profits.