High number of consumers ordering food through apps for convenience, outline food quality as the main concern


  • • 70% report deteriorated quality due to packaging and transportation
  • • 81% order food online for convenience
  • • 66% outline food quality as their top concern

Mobile Food Apps: Majority consumers concerned about the quality of food delivered but compromising for convenience

July 22, 2019, New Delhi: Over the last several months, the food, consumer and standards communities on LocalCircles have been seeing a steady flow of complaints about quality of food delivered by the food apps. Apps like Swiggy, Zomato, Uber Eats, are fast becoming an essential on the smartphone of the urban consumer. Basis the complaints received, LocalCircles decided to conduct a survey to check the consumer pulse on food delivery apps and received close to 55,000 votes from 27,000+ consumers from across 218 districts of India. In the first question, people were asked what has been their experience with delivery times when they ordered through food delivery apps and websites. 83% said food is delivered within 1 hour and 16% said it generally gets delayed. Only 1% said it usually arrives very late.

83% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps got their food within 1 hour

With the cricket season going on, these sites and apps have been making big bucks as people choose to order food from the convenience of their cosy couches and watch cricket matches, instead to going out to the restaurants. But complaints regarding food quality, delivery time, food packaging etc. keep trickling in from time to time.

70% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps felt the quality of food deteriorates due to packaging and transportation

70% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps felt the quality of food deteriorates due to packaging and transportation

When asked about the food quality, 53% consumers felt that the quality of food deteriorates a bit due to packaging and transportation. 17% said food quality is significantly deteriorated while 30% said food quality is usually the same as eating at the restaurant.

Cases have been reported where some of the outlets registered on these apps have turned out to be make-shift, operate out of home joints, with little focus on hygiene and quality. Zomato and Swiggy had recently delisted thousands of restaurants from their platforms which were not FSSAI compliant, however like Seema Mehra’s case, complaints keep trickling in.

22% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps found their billing to be inaccurate

22% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps found their billing to be inaccurate

When it came to billing, 68% found it to be accurate, 22% found it to be inaccurate and 10% said they did not pay attention to the bill. A case was reported against one of the major food delivery apps where billing calculation errors were made in favour of the food app. Checking the exact billing calculation isn’t on the mind of the majority on a Friday evening.

81% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps ordered it for convenience

81% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps ordered it for convenience

Along with convenience, another thing that attract customers towards these food apps is the discount provided by these apps. Many promotions and discount schemes keep running on these apps which make it more cost-efficient for the consumers to consume outside food.

81% respondents in the next poll said that they order food via mobile based food apps due to the convenience it provides, while 14% said they order because of the discounts these apps offer. 5% said it provides them a better selection of food.

66% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps outline quality as their top concern

66% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps outline quality as their top concern

66% said that the top concern in ordering restaurant food through mobile apps is quality and 22% said it is timeliness of delivery. 12% said overcharging was the biggest concern.

27% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps found the packaging of the food to be unsatisfactory

27% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps found the packaging of the food to be unsatisfactory

59% also said that the delivered food was satisfactorily packed while 14% said it was very well packed. 27% said the packaging was unsatisfactory.

Zomato was in the news earlier this year when one of their delivery boys was filmed opening and consuming a part of the food package that he was supposed to deliver. After the video created a flutter on social media, Zomato announced that it will soon move to tamper proof packaging but did not mention a deadline for it. A few months later, they introduced tamper-proof food packaging in some cities.

34% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps found items missing when the order was delivered

34% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps found items missing when the order was delivered

Citizens were asked when they ordered food through mobile food apps, were there cases of a few items missing when it was delivered. 34% said yes while 61% said no. 5% were unsure.

56% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps found the delivery person well behaved and service oriented

56% of consumers who ordered food via mobile food apps found the delivery person well behaved and service oriented

When it came to the delivery persons, 56% said their behaviour and service was average and 39% said they were well behaved and service oriented. 5% said the delivery boys were rude and inflexible.

The delivery boys are an important part of the entire chain who make sure that the food ordered reaches the customer at the right time and in good condition. Many companies have been making efforts towards ensuring that the delivery boys are well trained, polite and hygienically dressed. Most of the apps now have features to enable customers to rate as well as tip the delivery boys.

When LocalCircles spoke to representatives of prominent restaurants, the picture didn’t seem to be very rosy though. Multiple restaurant owners complained about the fact that these apps were causing long term price distortion by lowering prices artificially. Some even expressed concerns about the fact that a sizeable portion of the food on these apps now was being delivered from cloud kitchens instead of actual restaurants.

Overall though, the consumer survey does point to the fact that consumers are happy with the service provided by these food apps and sites, but want food quality and food packaging to be addressed. The food regulator of India, FSSAI can play an important role by ensuring only FSSAI approved and audited restaurants are allowed to be listed on the food delivery apps. LocalCircles will also submit the findings of this survey to all associated Government stakeholders to drive improvements and regulatory changes.

About LocalCircles

LocalCircles takes Social Media to the next level and makes it about Communities, Governance and Utility. It enables citizens to connect with communities for most aspects of urban daily life like Neighborhood, Constituency, City, Government, Causes, Interests and Needs, seek information/assistance when needed, come together for various initiatives and improve their urban daily life. LocalCircles is free for citizens and always will be!

Akshay Gupta - media@localcircles.com, +91-8585909866

All content in this report is a copyright of LocalCircles. Any reproduction or redistribution of the graphics or the data therein requires the LocalCircles logo to be carried along with it. In case any violation is observed LocalCircles reserves the right to take legal action.

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