Interview: Kevin Aluwi

What local and regional growth opportunities do you foresee in the food delivery industry?

KEVIN ALUWI: The South-east Asian online food delivery market has been projected to reach $8bn by 2025. This growth may be accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic that took hold in the first quarter of 2020, as online food delivery enables people to adhere to social-distancing and self-isolation rules. Lockdowns and other measures to restrict movement have been implemented in many countries in the region, with employees working remotely seeking home delivery options. Consumers of online food delivery are spoiled for choice, as there is a variety of menus accessible via a single app. Indeed, we expect the food delivery segment to double in Indonesia in 2020. Health and cleanliness is of the utmost importance, especially during the pandemic, and it is imperative that everyone across the supply chain – from the food merchant to the driver to the end consumer – feels safe. Contactless delivery is a key mechanism we use to combat the spread of the virus, and we supplement this with a body temperature card to inform customers of the temperatures of all those involved in the food preparation process. This is just a sample of initiatives put in place to capture growth opportunities within the food delivery industry; it is very important to note that customer requirements and standards have shifted as well.

Which segments have notable room for growth in 2020, especially in light of Covid-19?

ALUWI: Many industries were directly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Notably, ride-hailing apps witnessed a decline in use as Indonesians began to self-isolate. However, the isolation period has simultaneously enabled expansion in other industries, such as food, grocery and package deliveries, as people turned to mobile and online purchasing options. Home cleaning services also became more important, given the emphasis on cleanliness. A disinfected living space is important in the fight against Covid-19, and cleaners employed by these services are equipped with masks, gloves and disinfectants. Telemedicine and online health care provision will remain in high demand in 2020. In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Halodoc we created an online consulting service for people to access information about Covid-19 and check their symptoms. Distance learning through online platforms also experienced growth. Online learning platforms enabled the continuation of classes during school closures, and will be well-positioned to support the needs of parents and students moving forward. We have seen more awareness of environmentally friendly practices, and consumers have been increasingly turning to eco-friendly and sustainable practices, businesses and services. The government has committed to phase out single-use plastic bags, and to support this measure we equip our drivers with special delivery bags to set an example for other businesses to embrace green practices.

In what ways do you anticipate online food delivery will disrupt traditional food merchants?

ALUWI: It is important to develop technology that will improve the experience of both consumers and merchants. We have focused on empowering small businesses, as food delivery can enable a smaller merchant to make their products available to a larger consumer base. Around 96% of our merchants are micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), many of which experience a more than three-fold increase in sales after joining our network. By partnering with MSMEs, we are able to be part of the grassroots development of our economy, starting with these small but impactful firms. Food delivery also increases the availability of Indonesian dishes, and as such allows for the wider recognition of our cuisine. One of the key attractions for tourists is the rich variety of the national cuisine, and we emphasise to our merchants the importance of leveraging the uniqueness of Indonesia’s local foods.