19 October 2018 Courier Weekly

The insurgents stealing Tesco’s share of the dinner table

PLUS: Legal weed – Plastic – At-home fitness – Expensive bike sharing

Deliveroo and Uber’s grocery plays

Uber’s previous foray into grocery delivery – in partnership with Walmart – didn’t go so well; the company had scrapped the project in just three months. However, following rumours that Uber was in talks to take over Deliveroo last month, it appears that food in all its forms is still on Uber execs’ minds.

The company’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, said at a Vanity Fair conference this week that the company is exploring how it can efficiently deliver groceries to consumers.

In the first quarter of 2018, Uber reported a 200% year-on-year increase of Uber Eats orders. The food delivery segment of its business allows it to compete in countries where local ridesharing services are already well established. In India, for example, over 60% of Uber Eats customers have never used the ridesharing service.

Deliveroo, meanwhile, is experimenting with ready-meal delivery. It’s recently added By Ruby, a frozen ready meal brand focused on sustainability, to the platform for nationwide delivery. Last week, children’s ready-meal brand Annabel Karmel also launched on the platform.

Five days until legal cannabis in Canada

Next Wednesday, a law will come into effect making recreational cannabis legal across the whole of Canada.

An army of smaller players are getting ready to buy and sell the substance accordingly. When one of Courier’s editors was in the country last week, brands were marketing their products heavily. In Downtown Vancouver, Solei, a cannabis brand which is positioning itself around wellness, was handing out goody bags with herbal teas and rolling papers.

The repositioning of cannabis as something illicit and teenage to a modern luxury product is something we’ve investigated in the latest issue of the magazine (out now!). You can read the full report and meet the fascinating individuals working in this space here.

PR problems in packaging

Plastic has had a bad year. But is demonising the packaging material the most useful approach to reducing human impact on the environment?

Last week, the question came up at a panel discussion hosted by Courier at Bread and Jam festival, an event for food industry startups. Catherine Conway, founder of Unpackaged, a company that helps shops go ‘packaging free’, said that single-use packaging, plastic or not, is a more pressing concern.

‘I think a ban on single-use materials would be a better solution than a blanket ban on plastic,’ she said of prospective legislative changes to regulate food packaging.

‘The recycling infrastructure in this country is shocking,’ said Paul Brown, founder and CEO of plant-based, prepared food brand Bol. ‘[In the UK] we ship most of our plastic off overseas.’

Bol uses plastic ‘jars’ with screw-top lids for its salads and veg pots, which customers are encouraged to rinse and re-use. ‘If I used cardboard [packaging], I’d knock 25-35% off the shelf life, which would push the problem into a different eco-system,’ he added.

Fitness brand Peloton launches in UK and Canada

This week, Peloton launched its at-home-fitness bike in Canada, following its UK debut in September. Much has been said about the brand’s fanbase, but its success is also indicative of wider shifts in the fitness market.

Boutique and low-cost gyms may have boomed in recent years, but it’s still tough to the numbers to work. Low-cost brands count on a number of people signing up but not utilising the service, while boutique class services such as Classpass have had to reformulate pricing several times.

At-home fitness offerings have been entering the market and finding success where their bricks-and-mortar counterparts have struggled. It’s not inconvenient to go to the gym if it’s in your bedroom; and because these applications are internet based, they can connect their community of users.

Order your copy of Courier to read our full report into this sector.

Reality dawns for bike-sharing businesses

Chinese bike-rental company Ofo has announced a big operational change in London. Now users will have to pay a £15 charge if the bike is left beyond its new service zone – which excludes west Central London, Tower Hamlets and most of south London.

Presumably, the move is to do with where the bikes are most often misused: a local London paper reported that south-east London ‘Ofo gangs’ have been terrorising residents, while people have also been spray painting the bikes in an attempt to steal them.

Over in Singapore, Ofo has doubled its prices, from 30p per 30 minutes of ride time. The increase follows additional charges on bike-sharing companies by the Singaporean Land Transport Authority, including that they must now pay £33 for each bike put on the streets.

Five things on our radar this week