How Delivery Apps are Changing Hong Kong’s Food Culture

Food at your fingertips isn’t always a good thing.

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You can get just about anything delivered to you in today’s tech-driven world, including your meals. An article in the South China Morning Post highlights the rapid growth of food delivery apps across Hong Kong, noting that one popular app, Food Panda, grew by 500 percent in 2015 alone and offers more than 500 restaurant options. But while the food is trendy and fast, service is seamless, and consumers aren’t breaking bank, the food app trend isn’t without consequences.

Some experts say that as Hongkongers increasingly get their food through apps, Hong Kong’s traditional food culture is declining. Local millennials, for example, quick to adopt the latest technology, are replacing traditional (and oftentimes healthier) foods that require more time, ingredients and labor with fast food palettes curated by food apps, according to the piece. Unsurprisingly, this can harm young people’s health and reduces Hong Kong’s overall appetite for local Chinese food.

Theresa Lai Yeung Wai-Ling, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Physical Education at the Education University of Hong Kong, told the South China Morning Post that these apps, “will certainly encourage the young generation who use mobile apps habitually to consume more takeaway meals,” she said. “Such a trend will not so much change the taste of young people but will certainly have adverse impact on the well-being of the younger generation because there is no drive for them to learn to prepare meals when the culture is ready made food with home delivery service.”

Hong Kong’s vibrant eating-out culture is already beginning to feel the effects of these apps, according to the piece, as traditional tea houses have been forced out of business, replaced by chain restaurants that are better positioned to provide home deliveries. With everything we know about how nutrition helps fuel our overall well-being, it’s best to be mindful of how much you rely on less-than-healthy delivery options. 

Read more on the South China Morning Post

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