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Bucking the delivery trend in India, platforms like WhatsApp are allowing for local culinary marketplaces to flourish. Neighbourhood group chats offer convenient, home-cooked meals, catering to the fact that people desire authentic and convenient food when dining. We explore the insights behind this and how local dining connections are being made through mobile.

Local WhatsApps groups in the region are connecting food sellers and buyers, with messages appearing throughout the day to alert people of what's available. For example, one vendor may post, “Making potato and onion bajjis. Eight plates will be available in half an hour. Please order now.” The peer-to-peer marketplace also offers a form of hyper-convenience. Since the food is always coming from someone locally, it is less prone to the bottlenecks of larger delivery services. “I recently ordered ice cream on Swiggy on a Friday night and it took nearly two hours to arrive. A WhatsApp food network like this, where the delivery is controlled by the buyer or the seller, ensures the food is there at the time you want it,” said Nandita Iyer, a nutritionist and food blogger who lives in the Bangalorian neighbourhood of Whitefield. 

whatsapp connects indians to local cooking whatsapp connects indians to local cooking
Ashish Choudhary (2013) ©

While the $50 billion food services industry is growing at 20% each year in India, people's passion for home cooked meals remains unchanged. And with over 200 million users, India is WhatsApp’s largest global market. The popular messaging platform is the preferred method of communication among Indians and serves as a prime candidate to integrate a shared economy marketplace for food delivery. The combination of desire for hyperlocal services, coupled with a mass market communications platform offers opportunities to reach people like never before. Brands are taking note and increasingly turning to the platform on a more personal level. One brand example of this is HBO's Whatsapp takeover to promote Suicide Squad.

Abi Buller is the editorial assistant at Canvas8, which specializes in behavioral insights and consumer research. She holds a degree in Creative Direction for Fashion from the University of the Arts London. Outside of work, you'll find her wandering around art galleries, practising yoga and seeking out new pastel-coloured garments to add to her collection.


10 May 19
2 min read

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