Food retailers adapt product lines, service times to suit extreme weather conditions
Local food retailers, time-honored brands and diners are responding to the extreme weather conditions with new product and service options to handle orders.
New offerings from grocery and food retailer Freshippo for dinner and night snacks are available from 5pm to 10pm daily, including house brand craft beer and freshly made seasonal fruit alcoholic drinks.
The Alibaba-owned trader's nighttime menu consists of newly-added items like snacks, sparkling wine, mocktails and carbonated drinks, all available for on-demand delivery.
"Outdoor dining is still limited in some areas and being able to enjoy a casual snack while shopping for groceries is quite convenient," said Jing'an resident Jessie Li who visits a nearby Freshippo store two or three times every week.
The retailer has also set up a physical night market at dozens of its Shanghai stores to offer its drinks range to meet nighttime dining demands.
To make it fun, eight set menus jointly offered by Freshippo and spirits maker Bacardi are provided so shoppers can mix their own cocktails to suit different tastes.
Seafood combo dishes that include oysters, crawfish and shrimp have also been popular in recent days. Freshippo has doubled, compared with a year ago, the amount of crawfish it sources from Hubei Province to cater to the rising demand for pre-cooked dishes.
Lao Guoling, head of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics' research center for e-commerce, explained that by offering more product categories for nighttime shoppers, retailers are further contributing to reviving consumption and the relevant industry chain.
The Wangjiasha Eatery, known for its famous Shanghai-style dim sum, steamed buns and pre-cooked meals, also upgraded its delivery service.
Over 70 percent of its revenue comes from takeaway orders and it was one of the earliest diners to resume takeaways on Meituan after restrictions gradually were lifted last month in Shanghai.
A large takeout area on the ground floor has been reserved for customers who want to take steamed buns back home.
Under the COVID-19 restrictions on dining, it increasingly relied on takeout orders to serve consumers to whom it was offering mostly seasonal dishes.
Since Wangjiasha first started to offer a food delivery service about five years ago, it has been upgrading the quality and appeal of its fresh food packages.
In Shanghai, about 300 restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops in the city were included by Meituan in a special section to promote local eateries.
The delivery scope at these stores was expanded to cover destinations as far away as 25 kilometers instead of a normal radius of around 5 kilometers.
Sunya Teahouse near Nanjing Road W. Metro Station in Jing'an District currently has only about half the foot traffic in normal times. It said extending its delivery radius was a crucial step to enhancing its food takeaway business.
Delivery businesses have adopted extra measures including dry ice and frozen food lockers to keep food and drinks cool, especially for long-distance delivery.
Sparkling wine sales jumped more than 300 percent this month on Dada Group's JD Daojia and JD Now delivery service. Beer sales have also grown by 74 percent.
Since mid-July, sales of ice popsicles have jumped 189 percent from a month earlier, with those priced between 3 yuan (44 US cents) and 5 yuan being the bestsellers.