Swiggy and Zomato, the Indian food delivery apps have been ranked among the world’s biggest e-commerce food-delivery companies as per a report by Canada-based global research firm ETC Group.
The report titled ‘Crisis Profiteering, Digitalization and Shifting Power’ has ranked Swiggy ninth and Zomato has been placed on tenth spot. China’s Meituan has been ranked first followed by UK giant Deliveroo. The other food delivery companies on the list are Uber Eats (United States), Ele.me (China), DoorDash (United States) and others.
According to the report, the delivery platforms claim to be helping local businesses connect to the customers who benefit from the affordable convenience of eating-in, all while offering ‘meaningful work to underemployed people drawn to the flexibility of the gig economy’.
“From the beginning, the model has been, explicitly, less about food service and more about logistics, e-commerce (including customer-data collection) and attracting technology-focused venture capital investors”, the report stated.
The report stated that competition is this sector has heated up. “Some players were gobbled up, and those that remained raised even more investment cash – while buying and swapping stakes in competitors”, the report added.
The ETC report however expressed concerns over the food delivery sector’s ‘inhumane and possibly untenable labour practices’ through the promise of advanced automation.
“With little or no protections or perks, couriers put themselves in danger (by speeding, breaking traffic laws, travelling through high-crime areas) rather than risk being fined or fired if they don’t deliver often enough and fast enough. While gig work is supposed to allow people to choose how much and when they work, the reality is that the platforms are in control”, the report stated.
The research report cited examples of countries which had made efforts to enact labour reforms. It said the European Commission is considering ways to improve the working conditions of platform workers. The New York City became the first to pass legislation to regulate the food delivery sector, establishing minimum pay and other worker protections.