Ordering in is uber popular: New research shows meal delivery apps are booming despite concerns about high prices and unhealthy eating

New research from the award-winning strategic insights consultancy, Nature, reveals ‘takeout’ has been superseded by ‘order in’ as meal delivery services are booming, with young Australians utilising a multitude of apps to satisfy their hunger.


  • 52% of people say they have used a meal delivery app in 2021, up from 40% in 2019
  • 33% of people use a meal delivery app at least once a month, up from 24% in 2019
  • 71% of people who use meal delivery apps are under the age of 40
  • 68% of people say they tend to eat less healthy when ordering from a meal delivery app
  • Uber Eats dominates the market with 65% of people saying they have used it and 26% of people saying they use it regularly

Nature’s Managing Partner, Chris Crook, said: “While the pandemic and resultant lockdowns in Australia played a big part in accelerating the uptake of meal delivery services, we couldn’t have predicted just how entrenched they would become in our lives and culture.

“Our research has uncovered the widespread popularity of meal delivery apps, with over half of Australians having tried at least one, and highlighted the growing popularity of these apps among younger Aussies – who love them for the convenience and ability to trial new restaurants, despite price.”

Nature Associate Director, Melbourne, Chris Mason, said: “While Uber Eats continues to be the most used app, the market is changing, with the majority of users having two or more apps on their phone and switching between them to get the best deal or restaurant pick.

“There is now more to meal delivery apps than just restaurants, with grocery and alcohol services starting to gain traction as well as ‘fringe’ convenience services like Providoor. At the moment, the meal delivery channel is largely untapped by FMCG brands. There is a clear opportunity for both consumer brands and retailers to leverage these apps as an additional channel, building on the reach of in-store touchpoints and online grocery shopping.”

Consumer attitudes toward meal delivery apps are positive, with key drivers being the opportunity to try new cuisines and convenience

• 66% of people say they like to try new cuisines through meal delivery apps which they normally wouldn’t buy
• 60% of people order from meal delivery apps as a ‘last minute decision’ when they have run out of time

Uber Eats and Menulog are the most popular apps on the market with most users having more than one app installed to benefit from exclusives and special offers

• 65% of people who use meal delivery apps use Uber Eats, and 58% use Menulog
• 26% of people who use meal delivery apps use Uber Eats on a regular basis
• 72% of people who use meal delivery apps use more than one, with 55% of users indicating Uber Eats as their main app
• 44% of people who downloaded a second meal delivery app say it’s to explore the restaurants available

Price of food is a concern for app users, although increasingly less so

• 45% of people say the food bought through meal delivery apps is too expensive, down from 58% in 2019
• 53% of people who don’t use meal delivery apps name “too expensive” as the biggest barrier

Subscriptions to meal delivery apps have not taken off, with users saying they are unlikely to consider signing up in the future

• 15% of meal delivery app users currently hold a subscription
• 60% of meal delivery app users say they are unlikely to sign up in the future

People are not concerned enough about driver welfare to stop them using an app

• 8% of people say concerns over treatment of delivery drivers are a barrier to signing up to a meal delivery service
• 74% of meal delivery app users say they would feel better about the app if wages and worker protections were increased for drivers

Trial rates of other ‘fringe’ convenience services have also increased, highlighting new avenues for brands and retailers to engage with consumers

• 41% of people have ordered food from a restaurant which they prepare or re-heat at home (e.g., Providoor)
• 22% of people who have used the above service say they use it monthly

The Nature research was conducted among 1000 people from 28 September to 4 October 2021. The survey sample was representative of the national population.