AFRICA – New innovations in the food industry, are creating attractive opportunities for women and youth on the African continent with the online marketplace projected to create about 3 million jobs in 2025.

This projection, as indicated in Jumia’s 1st Africa Food Index, offers the prospect of greater prosperity, reduced hunger and improved opportunities for African farmers and entrepreneurs to participate in the global economy.

An e-commerce platform, Jumia has been leading the food delivery segment in the region through its online service Jumia Food, operating in 9 countries i.e. Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, Uganda, Algeria and Senegal.

Online food delivery is termed to be one of the fastest-growing online segments as players in the sector seek to reach consumers with a convenient and affordable delivery experience.

In parallel, the pandemic has seen more people in isolation turn to online services as offline channels were largely disrupted.

“This pandemic crisis has shown the world that online food delivery is not just a commodity, but a necessity.”

Jumia Food.Chief Commercial Officer – Shreenal Ruparelia

This is clearly seen in countries such as Morocco and Tunisia that had implemented nationwide lockdowns, with their cities i.e. Casablanca and Tunis featuring in the top ten list of cities that led in volume of orders as indicated in the 2020 index report.

Nairobi is the leading city in the ranking followed by Lagos, Casablanca, Kampala, Abidjan, Accra, Rabat, Abuja, Tunis and Algiers.

“This pandemic crisis has shown the world that online food delivery is not just a commodity, but a necessity. The food business adapted quickly to the new normal, by availing contactless and cashless deliveries,” said Shreenal Ruparelia Chief Commercial Officer, Jumia Food.

“We also started to provide support to local food vendors to keep their businesses running during this difficult time. With our food partners, we will continue to deploy capabilities across the food value chain to ensure consumers buy food online safely and at the right price, in line with the theme of this year’s World Food Day celebration of Grow, Nourish, Sustain Together, “added Shreenal.

Burger, Chicken top online food order

According to the report, over the last three years, Africa’s growing online audience has seen an increase in international brands such as KFC, McDonalds, Burger King setting up shop to tap into the growing middle-income segment.

Jumia working with over 4,000 food partners in the region, both local and international brands saw growth in orders of African meals and organic food in the period under review.

Quick Service Restaurant have been cited as the destination of choice for consumers in the region due to affordable prices with consumers relishing from burger, chicken, pizza, African and Kebab.

The most popular food brands in Africa according to the report are KFC, MCDonalds’, Carrefour, Burger King and Pizza Hut in that order.

“I believe that COVID-19 has fast tracked convenience in the food sector as people were forced to order from home during these times.

“I think the #1 changing trend is that consumers have become more safety conscious than ever before, both from a food and service perspective,” said Jacques Theunissen, KFC Chief Operating Officer East Africa.

Jumia food chariot for e-commerce in Africa

E-Commerce in Africa is still at its infancy by global standards standing at less than 2 % vs north of 20% in China or 12% in the USA.

However, it has promising potential as internet penetration in the region is estimated at 39.3% with 527m internet users, a growth of +12% since 2000.

According to the report the regions food and beverage market is worth US$ 313 billion and is projected to reach US$ 1 trillion by 2030, significantly propelled by the rise of online food sales, which is expected to account 0.3% of total revenue generated by 2023.

Africa’s US$ 313 billion food and beverage market is projected to reach US$ 1 trillion by 2030

Online Food delivery players such as Jumia have also played a key role in shaping the sector and opening up the markets. Local producers and restaurants have indeed embraced this evolution and reached new consumers as well as grow their businesses in spite of the current challenging times.

The UN Socio-economic impact assessment of COVID-19 in Uganda has revealed that approximately 1.9 million people are estimated to have fallen into poverty as a result of the first eight weeks of lockdown alone.

According to Elsie Attafuah, United Nations Development Programme (UNPD) President representative in Uganda, “E-commerce has emerged as the answer to sustaining supply chains. Digital solutions offer some of the most powerful avenues to address current supply chain and market challenges while boosting online trading, marketing, and giving the customers a fast, safe and convenient experience.”

In May, the UNDP in partnership with Jumia Food Uganda launched an initiative that is using e-commerce to connect the informal sector including market vendors to potential consumers.

So far, seven markets are now online with over 1,500 vendors registered and selling their assorted produce online.

Other than the COVID-19 pandemic being a major driver in the growth of online food delivery, demography has also been highlighted as a steering factor.

With a growing population averaging 18 years old, a new generation of African middle-class consumers are spending more money online on food and grocery services.

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