Edited by Paola Piovesana

Food delivery in the new normal is booming all over the world. From fashion to necessity: the lockdown has driven a sector that was already on the rise but which now, with the extension of restrictions, risks becoming a real alternative to restaurants.ย The giants of the sector are becoming increasingly popular and services are becoming more and more personalised, from wine delivered at serving temperature to dinner ordered via app and delivered in half an hour, ranging from ethnic to healthy, from traditional to fast food to gourmet.

The report of Global WebIndex 2020 The future of Food confirms the widespread use of home delivery worldwide, a trend driven largely by Millennials, with 71% ordering takeaway at least once every thirty days, obviously via smartphone app, but also the constant dichotomy between junk and healthy food.

It is estimated that by 2024 the total home delivery business will reach 164.5 billion dollars, with an annual increase of 22% over the next three years, and that it will fascinate numerous investors. Globally - the survey also reports - Indonesia is the most sensitive market, with 76% of users, and Portugal has grown by 60% since the end of 2018, Italy by 33%.

In Italy, what was already a widespread habit mainly in large cities is now also arriving in smaller towns: Deliveroo in May 2020 recorded 130% more orders than in May 2019 and is already present in around 200 cities. Many bars and restaurants have equipped themselves and practice take-away, to maintain the relationship with their customers while waiting to return to freely consume lunches and dinners on the premises, working either in their own kitchens or also in associated form, with dark kitchens.

Home delivery has certainly been driven by the pandemic, which in addition to restricting catering activities has forced millions of workers to work in the field. smart working but, experts say, it had already taken root because of the new global habit of thehome entertainment (Netflix teaches) that favours the combination of dinner + film or TV series.

The pleasure of a ready-made, well-cooked and therefore satisfying dinner is growing (which these days is no bad thing) but, at the same time, so is the need to take care of health, weight and lightness and therefore to consume light and balanced dishes. If it is true that not being able to go out to dinner with friends and relatives, in 2020 one Italian out of four chose take-away food at least once a week, with a preference for ethnic dishes, it is also true that with the covid we all had to deal with doubts and prescriptions, not only dietary.

Does covid can be passed trough delivered food? How should I handle raw and fresh food? What should I order to preserve my health? 

AIGOthe Italian Association of Hospital Gastroenterologists & Digestive Endoscopists is engaged in a national and local communication campaign. to promote prevention at the table as the first weapon to protect the digestive system, especially now that screenings are delayed due to covid-related emergencies. Aigo doctors have created a practical vademecum to spread healthy advice on how to enjoy takeaway food while avoiding hidden pitfalls, especially salt, excess fat and sugar. In times of pandemic, it is also necessary to pay attention to the hygiene of the supply chain, from preparation to delivery, in order to eat safely and dispel false fears.

  • FOOD DELIVERY IS NOT A SYNONYM OF FASTFOOD, so favour simply prepared food or places that are already known and appreciated for the quality of their preparations. The desire for fastfood must be combined with lowfat choices and, for children, including products such as fruit or yoghurt on the menu.
  • VARIATION OF FOODS is the classic rule, which also applies to takeaways. Mediterranean diet. Ensure that rules on proper food preservation are observed by the supplier (e.g. slaughtering and respect of the cold chain for raw fish), as well as food traceability.
  • CHOOSE FOODS RICH IN FIBRES from fruit or vegetables or cereals, preferably wholegrain always balance the foods also in the delivery bag.
  • BE CAREFUL WITH SALT and to all the preparations that hide it. Whenever possible, season with spices.
  • PAY ATTENTION TO ALCOHOL: A glass per day is more than enough.
  • HOW TO HEAT THE DELIVERED FOOD? Correctly used microwave ovens present very few health risks, using, of course, the specially provided containers.
  • AND FINALLY THE COVID RISK: can you get infected with food? While we are aware that "zero risk" in medicine does not exist, it must still be said that there are no reports of contagion through food, even if the origin of SARS-CoV-2 should be animal. Therefore, the obligation to wash your hands thoroughly before, after and during the handling of food, wash raw fruit and vegetables well while cooking the food (at temperatures over 63 ยฐ for over 4 minutes) should eliminate the possibility of infection.

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