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I can buy cherries, hotpots 24x7 now

By Cheng Yu | China Daily | Updated: 2018-02-26 09:26
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A long work week would typically leave me too tired to make lunch for myself over weekends. So, I rely on food apps not just for meals but even other stuff. Like, the other day, I savored some strawberries from Japan.

If you think such apps are a big help only at an individual level, you'd be wrong. My friends and I partied one weekend evening. Instead of cooking at my friend's place, the ten of us decided to order food from Haidilao online. It's a popular hotpot brand in China.

In less than half-hour, all the hotpot raw materials, including lamb and beef, ingredients, condiments, and even the pot, were delivered. Preparation to eating took us no more than five minutes.

For the price we paid (850 yuan or $130), the food quality was excellent. We patted ourselves on our backs for being "extremely wise".

Internet-based food businesses make life easy for busy urban professionals. They are also changing how we consume food.

Two or three years ago, no one could have imagined that a Chinese consumer can enjoy fresh cherries throughout the year. For, cherries mature at different times in different countries.

But now, Chinese consumers can eat cherries from Chile from late autumn to the beginning of spring. Chinese cherries are available from late spring to late summer. And cherries from the United States can be bought from summer to the onset of autumn.

Internet-based food delivery chains and e-commerce platforms are making it possible for consumers to buy their favorite foods from across the world at any time of the year. Have smartphone, can buy cherries, 24 x 7 x 365.

According to a report of the China Cuisine Association, people born after 1990 and 2000 accounted for about half of the food and catering-related consumption last year.

Last year also saw the emergence of youngsters aged between 19 and 22 as the main consumer group of internet-based fresh food suppliers, according to a report co-released by CBNData, a Shanghai-based market data analytics provider, and Tmall, Alibaba's online marketplace featuring well-known brands.

"These young people were born in an era when the internet developed with unprecedented speed. They are smartphone-savvy and are willing to try new things and buy food online," said Li Xiang, senior analyst from CBNData.

Not just that. Li may well have been referring to my parents' generation who don't consume food as much as young consumers. They are not as savvy with mobiles as the millennials, and are concerned about safety and quality of food bought online.

But CBNData said in its report that young consumers prefer to buy healthy or organic food made with agri produce and marine products grown using environ-mentally friendly practices.

Online sales of salmon, a variety of fish full of nutrition, surged last year on an e-commerce platform. Buddhist-style living has come to be seen as a healthy lifestyle, revealing changing Chinese eating habits. Eating bellyful of food is out. Healthy, tasty moderate lunches/dinners are in.

Technology has injected new life into Chinese cuisine, with diverse flavors and sights of attractive food becoming the order of the day. As a foodie, I can't wait to see more innovative ways of eating food in the future.

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