The History and Evolution of Food Delivery

From the Ancient Roman Thermopolium to online food orders, food delivery has come a long way. While some practices remain intact, food delivery as a whole has evolved so much over the years, and today, it is one of the fastest-growing markets in general.

If you wanted to find out exactly what happened on that journey, you’ve come to a good place. Let’s take a closer now and see for ourselves how much food delivery had to change with time so that we could enjoy it in as we do today.

Ancient Rome (753 B.C. – 476 A.D.)

Believe it or not, the origins of food delivery date back to Ancient Rome! Romans were the first ones who established the concepts of food delivery that we recognize today. They even had their own fast-food restaurants! These restaurants were called Thermopolium. What was so special about them? Well, they served their food at a counter made from huge clay pots that kept the food hot. That’s exactly how modern fast food is served today.

Archeologists from different parts of the world found 80 of these ancient fast-food restaurants clustered in old Pompeii. Maybe Ancient Romans couldn’t order their favorite foods online, but Thermopolium was the best way for them to enjoy their hot meal on the go and it was Thermopolium that set the origins of food delivery as we know it today.

Now let’s jump to the 18th century, which is when food delivery became just that - delivery.

Milk delivery (1785)

Milk delivery services are commonplace today, but it all began in 1785 in the United States. That was the time when fresh milk was a privilege that everyone was striving for. As the US started to industrialize, people were buying their milk from local dairy farmers and this was a practice that was becoming increasingly more popular with time. Daily milk deliveries became the new standard for American society and they were quickly adopted by the entire world.

Indian dabbawalas (1890)

Nearly 125 years ago while India was still under British rule, India started a new dabbawala meal delivery system in highly populated, urban areas (such as Mumbai). The delivery men who carried out these services got the name “dabbawalas”. They had one duty alone - to deliver meals to people at their place of work. The same system exists today as well and if you were wondering when did it all began, now you have an answer

World War II (1939-1945)

During World War II, plenty of people had to seek cover from bomb threats. As a result, governments began to enlist a number of chefs and volunteers to deliver foods right at their doorstep. That was the typical food delivery model that we recognize today and it practically came out of nowhere. This practice was especially popular in London and it even helped the war veterans get back on their feet. Both Australia and the United States adopted the practice shortly afterward, and from there, food delivery found its way to every country in the world.

Food Trucks (1960-present)

We see food trucks all the time today, but did you know when was the whole idea initially created? Back in 1960! The concept was made to ensure that workers were getting the meals at their workplaces safely and conveniently. Their initial name was “roach coaches” and the early food trucks had plenty of issues with sanitation. Luckily, that changed fairly quickly, and today, food trucks are one of the most popular ways to deliver snacks and meals anywhere in the world.

Online food ordering (2004-present)

We finally came to the most popular form of food delivery today - online food ordering. With the expansion of the internet, online food orders became the most prevalent form of food delivery worldwide. New Zealand is no exception there. No matter if we’re talking about regular websites or food delivery apps, online food ordering is the pinnacle of food delivery services. With great convenience, simplicity and limitless reach, online food ordering is simply the best way to order your favorite meals in the 21st century. All you need is a couple of clicks and the food is right in front of you! Easy, isn’t it?

Order your favorite foods online via Order Meal

If you want to order your favorite dishes via the best online ordering system in the country, Order Meal is the way to go. We are the leading takeaway and home delivery service in the country. Moreover, we are also a place where you can find and order the best foods in New Zealand. We offer a unique platform that you can use on any device, safely and conveniently. We also guarantee the safety of your data and the risk of any violations is virtually zero. All you need to do is place the order and we will do the rest for you. The food will be at your doorstep before you even notice!

Visit our website to see what we have to offer first-hand.