A major investment bank has suggested that our obsession for food delivery through apps, like Deliveroo and UberEats, could eventually lead to homes being built without kitchens as home cooking fades away.
In a wide-ranging report that included a survey of 13,000 people around the world, UBS predicts that global online food ordering could grow to $365 billion (£278 billion) by 2030, up from $35bn today.
Powering this growth is the development of mass logistics and strong demographic trends. Already, millennials, many of whom are renting in shared apartments and houses, are three times more likely to order a takeaway than their parents, according to the report, and as this generation matures, the bank asks: “Is the kitchen dead?”
The bank said the growth of shared “dark kitchens” – pop-up food preparation areas often set up in car parks that are used by a number of different restaurants – would cut meal preparation costs and the growing use of robot chefs would industrialise the process further.
At scale, unit costs of delivery could drop by 50%, and even more via automated delivery drones and droids.
The UBS report said: “This could mean the total cost of production of a professionally cooked and delivered meal could approach the cost of home-cooked food, or beat it when time is factored in.
“In a world of increasingly time-starved and asset-light millennial consumers, we think growth in online food delivery is part of a mega-trend which shouldn’t be ignored.”
It mooted one scenario whereby in 2030 most meals currently cooked at home are instead ordered online and delivered from either restaurants or central kitchens.
“The ramifications for the food retail, food producer and restaurant industries could be material, as well as the impact on property markets, home appliances and robotics,” the UBS analysts predicted.
But one kitchen retailer is not convinced. John Pelosi, owner and director of Caldicot Kitchen and Bathroom Centre in south-east Wales argues that while the kitchen could continue to shrink in some homes, changing kitchen design requirements and demand for appliances with greater functionality, it “will remain a prime battleground”.
“I can see there may be some trends in this direction. But for those a little bit older? Settling down with growing families and moving to more suburban lives? Well, yes, they may eat a few more takeaways or dine out more regularly, but I suspect news of the demise of the home kitchen is somewhat premature.
“’Keeping up with the Joneses’ is as alive today as it ever was.”