A sustainable future: Food delivery market trends in 2024

Food delivery packaging

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the food-delivery industry has seen substantial growth worldwide, transforming not only how the market works but also how we as delivery packaging providers interact with said market. But with key online food-ordering trends and developments in the pipeline (including a rising need for sustainable packaging alternatives), what new changes and trends can we expect from the industry in 2024? 

According to Smithers’ latest market report ‘The Future of Global Packaging to 2024’, the market value of global packaging will rise from $917 billion in 2019 to $1.05 trillion by 2024 (with Asia being the biggest market of world packaging consumption followed by North America and Western Europe). That is a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8%.

  • Market growth: With more consumers becoming accustomed to the convenience of food-delivery services, this market’s demand is expected to increase. 
  • Incorporated technology: Thanks to major advancements in technology (such as AI helping to optimise delivery routes, boost order accuracy, etc.) the role of artificial intelligence in ALL sectors (not only food delivery) will continue to grow.   
  • Ghost kitchens: More of these commercial kitchens (designed purely for food delivery and -pickup orders) are expected to help restaurants and food entrepreneurs expand their operations. 
  • Sustainability: The increasing concern about the impact that the food-delivery industry has on the environment (including packaging waste and carbon emissions) will help sustainable- and eco-friendly practices to become more important. 
  • Enhanced reusability: As there is a strong focus on reuse and refill from many of the market's biggest brands regarding packaging waste (and the ideas and the enabling technologies already exist), it does seem very likely that 2024 will see many in the industry finally advancing in the establishment of practical reuse schemes (including recyclability).
  • Greener packaging: With non-recyclable plastic packaging under pressure, more and more brands and consumers (especially in Western Europe) will switch to more sustainable packaging options (made from materials like kraft paper, sugarcane, and others). It should also be noted that since there is already a thriving market for fibre-based packaging (such as products made from fallen leaves and other biodegradable materials), many believe that 2024 will bring lots more research and development into establishing a more efficient lifecycle for these kinds of eco-friendly packaging alternatives, especially around recyclability at the end of life.
  • More competition: More mergers and acquisitions are foreseen as more brands in the competitive food-delivery industry attempt to acquire a larger portion of the market.  
  • Restaurant partnerships: 2024 will see more companies embracing partnerships with third-party delivery services, which means more eateries are expected to offer delivery as part of their standard services. 
  • Localised/specialised menus: To cater to more diverse taste and preferences in various regions, online food-delivery markets are expected to offer more localised and specialised menus. 
  • More packaging: As real incomes are rising in Asia (and other developing regions), more consumers will be able to spend money on packaged products, including not only eco-friendly packaging for food but also luxury products. 
  • Flexible packaging: More rigid traditional packaging formats (like metal tins and glass jars) will be replaced by alternative options (such as high-barrier films, bamboo-paper boxes, etc.) for a rich variety of food products.  
  • Consumer concern: More customers will “go green” and opt for sustainable packaging alternatives in the healthcare packaging market, as is evidenced by the growing need for more convenience and security features (like child-resistant closures). 
  • Enhanced convenience: Lastly, there will be a rise in the need for more convenience in food delivery and -preparation, including microwavable ready meals, more portable packaging, easy-open and reseal components, and more. 
With all these forthcoming changes, there has never been a better time to put your company’s trust in the hands of packaging professionals – like MBA Green. With sustainable packaging as our focus, we use our experience and resources to create efficient and cost-effective solutions to “green up” your brand, regardless of the industry. So, let’s embrace 2024 together, because saving the planet while switching to more sustainable- and eco-friendly packaging alternatives has never been easier!