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What’s bright pink, furry, and a little cheeky at times? It’s ‘Pau-Pau’, the adorable foodpanda brand ambassador out on its adventures.

‘Pau-Pau’ was introduced early this year as the new face of the brand championing empowerment and sustainability across the region. Beyond its free-spirited personality, ‘Pau-Pau’ is intended to lead foodpanda’s foray into a new decade of ever-changing landscape. 

After 10 years in Singapore, the company has gone through a lot of changes, including an update from its eye-catching orange in the earlier days to the unmistakable pink that is now a familiar sight on Singapore roads.

Over the course of a decade, foodpanda has continuously improved its tech platform and user experience, as it constantly reinvents itself to become more than just a food delivery platform. 

Beyond delivering just food, it also delivers convenience while supporting various community groups, and has rolled out various features and initiatives to prove just that.

Forefronting the q-commerce market

Nowadays, customers are increasingly purchasing smaller quantities of goods, as opposed to replacing a weekly food shop.

Termed as ‘quick commerce’ (q-commerce), foodpanda had noticed that there was an increasing demand for services that can complement when customers need something delivered conveniently, and fast. Beyond just ordering food on-demand, customers also wanted other necessities such as groceries and household items delivered more efficiently. 

Hence, in 2019, foodpanda expanded its offerings to cater to this demand. It rolled out an online grocery service called pandamart, offering 24/7 grocery delivery in under 30 minutes; and foodpanda shops, an online vendor marketplace. 

Providing on-demand grocery delivery established foodpanda as a major player in the q-commerce market. The addition of more services also allowed it to quickly transition and adapt operations when the pandemic hit.

With the peak of Covid-19 bringing services to a standstill, most Singaporeans had to turn to alternative solutions for food and groceries. foodpanda was the first platform to introduce contactless deliveries, and pandamart and foodpanda shops proved essential in providing an easy and safe way for customers to purchase groceries, medication, and most importantly, ART kits.

pandamart
pandamart picker packing a pandamart order / Image Credit: foodpanda

Today, pandamart has 14 stores islandwide, and retails over 5,000 products ranging from beauty and personal care products, to fresh produce. Meanwhile, foodpanda shops has over 4,000 merchants – including familiar household names like 7-Eleven, Marks & Spencer, Xiaomi and Watsons – alongside heartland small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs). 

Despite the easing restrictions, consumers are still depending on pandamart and foodpanda shops, and this is evident in its steady usage growth. To date, foodpanda owns Asia’s largest network of cloud grocery stores and warehouses and last year, it led a new era of q-commerce with a 450 per cent year-on-year growth across Asia.

Connecting the community during Covid-19

Covid-19 threw the world for a loop. The pandemic accelerated the need for businesses to adopt digital solutions, such as utilising delivery platforms. Realising the importance of this, foodpanda reported an investment of almost S$50 million across the region to support local communities, as well as help various SMEs digitise.

foodpanda recognised that hawkers and independent businesses struggle with technological demands. Most were outpaced and outskilled, or lacked funding to digitise their businesses, leading them to suspend or postpone their businesses for fear of bankruptcy.

Some SMEs were apprehensive to adopt digital solutions because they don’t understand how it works, but when the pandemic hit, they realised it was a necessity.

We had to help them continue to put bread on others’ tables, as well as their own, by guiding them to digitise. In this way, we foster ‘digital inclusion’ by making it possible for any merchant anywhere to participate in the new economy.

– Amirul Shah, Commercial Director at foodpanda Singapore
foodpanda hawkers volunteer
foodpanda employee-volunteers reaching out to hawkers during the pandemic / Image Credit: foodpanda

Overcoming Covid-19 challenges required a community effort. To really engage with hawkers on the ground, 50 foodpanda employee-volunteers took to the streets during Phase Two Heightened Alert, reaching out to over 200 hawkers across five hawker centres in Singapore.

Not only did the employee-volunteers assist the hawkers on the ins and outs of the foodpanda app, they also helped educate them about online food delivery and the benefits of going digital for their businesses.

Creating opportunities and embracing talent

foodpanda’s heart extends to the community, but it also sits right at home within its ‘panda riders’, who work hard each day to ensure orders reach homes safely.

Food delivery platforms became a host for jobseekers during the pandemic, with about 60 per cent of food delivery riders entering the delivery market during this period.

“Being a rider gave me a way to support myself during the pandemic while I was in-between jobs. I like having the freedom to choose when I want to work and how much I want to earn. Even with my full-time job now, I can do deliveries whenever my schedule permits to earn more,” said 32-year-old Jonathan Tee, who has been a foodpanda rider since 2019.

foodpanda rider
foodpanda rider / Image Credit: foodpanda

Additionally, with Covid-19 proving to be a tough time for everyone, foodpanda also introduced various in-house initiatives that put rider welfare at the forefront. For instance, riders are entitled to free mental health support through the Intellect app

They are also protected by a complimentary insurance package while they are on shift, to give them a peace of mind while they work hard to deliver orders. For those seeking additional protection, affordable insurance packages are also available for riders and their families through various insurance partners.

To encourage upskilling, foodpanda has collaborated with mobile micro-learning platform Gnowbe and Temasek Polytechnic to offer its riders access to an e-learning platform, allowing them to further upskill themselves. The portal enables riders to enrol for free courses on customer service and entails discounted rates on courses in finance, digital skills, and personal branding.

Growing as a brand would not be possible without the internal community that supports it. This is why foodpanda ensures that whilst they continue to advance in the industry, its rider community grows with it as well.

Bridging sustainability with on-demand delivery

Following the increased consumer demand for more sustainable products and services, Singapore has recently launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030. In line with this goal, various enterprises have started advancing their efforts in sustainable development, and foodpanda plays an active role in this as well. 

foodpanda believes there’s always a better way, and any change — big or small — can help make a difference. It pioneered the cutlery opt-out feature in 2017, contributing to the saving of millions of plastic cutlery sets, and it was also the first delivery platform in Singapore to ban the sale of sharks’ fin products.

foodpanda olio
Partnership with OLIO to redistribute surplus food / Image Credit: foodpanda

Among its contributions to help build a more sustainable Singapore, foodpanda is working alongside local free-sharing app OLIO to tackle food waste by redistributing edible surplus food from pandamart stores to app users for free. 

It also partnered with Muuse to offer reusable containers to its food delivery customers, and became a part of the Plastic ACTion (PACT) initiative by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to help reduce plastic waste.

Convenience and cost are key factors affecting customer preference for sustainable options. Without compromising on convenience for customers, foodpanda also offers a self-collect option through its pick-up feature. This is not only sustainable in comparison to traditional vehicle delivery, but it also allows customers to skip the queues, save on delivery fees and also enjoy savings on their food. 

foodpanda also emboldens the community to give back with its newest initiative. In partnership with The Food Bank Singapore, foodpanda lets consumers ‘Donate a Meal’ to the needy via the app. 

Once known solely for its food delivery services, foodpanda has clearly evolved over the past decade to be a multi-faceted platform that cares for its consumers and the community. 

Based on its advances and development thus far, users can be reassured that foodpanda is here to stay for the long run and it will continue to innovate itself to provide the welcomed convenience that customers have grown to love.

Featured Image Credit: foodpanda

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