Food delivery, a triple faced coin

In brief
In 2019 the food delivery market will be worth $107 billion USD with Italy accounting for $630 million USD. Yet, privacy and labour remain painful points.

Food delivery: Revenues have increased by 56% YOY in Italy, reaching €566 million. The analytics created by the B2C eCommerce Osservatorio indicate a clear positive trend for this industry. Currently, almost all cities in Italy (93%) with more than 50,000 residents are reached by couriers, while two years ago it was only 74%.


Radical change in consumer behaviour are happening throughout the world, more so in the past couple years than in the last decades. According to Statista, a leader in market research, revenues of food delivery services amassed to $76 billion USD, they will reach $107 billion by the end of 2019 and eventually reach $157 billion by 2023. This indicates an average growth rate of 9.9% between 2019-2023, showing the first face of the digital coin.


Naturally, the winners are online e-commerce platforms which directly deliver to the client. Users have grown from 365 million in 2018 to a predicted 818 million in 2023. China is currently leading the race with revenues over $40 billion USD, followed by the USA, India, UK and Japan.

In Italy, the query on Google “dinner at home” is searched 4 times more than “restaurant dinner”, according to SEO company Semrush. Last May, Just East was searched 555,000 times, followed by 140,000 searches for Deliveroo. This is the second face of the coin, though it bears some dubious thoughts about customer data management.

Privacy and information are increasingly becoming opposites. Last June 8th, Fortune Italia releases an article titled: “the gold mine of data: food delivery”. All resale companies were contacted for more information, with one refusing to answer.

Towards the end of June, the Guarantor for personal data protection opens an investigation and sends the Guadia di Finanza to Deliveroo’s offices in Milan. The group stated that it was a routine check.

For Deliverance Milano, for workers with a fixed-period contract and couriers operating in Lombardy, purchase and sale of data are a negative aspect of the “gig economy“.


Pardon us philosophers and physicists, which have more authority than us to express themselves, but the third and dark face of the coin, is the job. We have already talked about this issue, this time we discuss a further development.

On the 16th of June an investigation was launched from the an investigation was launched from the New York Times regarding “sub-lease” in France. Unregistered migrants, asylum seekers and minors are illegally using accounts of couriers to deliver food in their name and obtain 30-50% of returns. Poor working conditions and renumerations for riders make them prefer this type of “sub-rent” than actually delivering themselves.

Let us take the case of Aymen Arfaouim, an 18-year-old who migrated without registration from Turkey. He “resides” in an abandoned car, he illegally rented the account of an Uber Eats rider. His returns: 17 Euros for four hours of work.

A one-off case? No. According to the French correspondent for the NYT and creator of the investigation, explored the extent of the problem with Alexandre Fitussi, director of Glovo France. According to Fitussi, couriers have created their own network to take advantage of the “sans-papier”. At least 5% of the 1,200 weekly couriers for Glovo are unregistered immigrants, asylum seekers and minors; all willing to work extensive hours for below minimum pay regardless of traffic or weather.


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