Food delivery in Italy: a social snapshot

Foodora, Deliveroo, Justeat, and Moovenda: The top players in home food delivery are currently fighting over the Italian market. We have analyzed the online activity of this market over the last 6 months: noting the emergence of different strategies and common critical issues.

Fig.1: comparison of the distribution of citations for the brands analyzed

The most cited businesses online are Foodora and Deliveroo, which have been especially discussed on sites and portals of information (yellow color): both were in fact the focus of debate in the national chronicle for critical issues related to the so-called “Dignity Decree”, announced by the Minister of Labour Luigi di Maio.


Brand reputation: dignity decree and Gig Economy


Fig.2 Post trends and interactions between January and June

As seen in Figure 2, the graph shows the distribution of conversation volumes. The data does not only relate to online brand citations, but also includes posts and interactions. A study of the graph immediately brings two elements to light: it confirms the importance of the critical issues related to Foodora and marks a substantial difference in volumes between Deliveroo and Justeat.

The development of conversations over time confirms the findings of the first graph: volumes relating to Foodora show abnormally high peaks in April and June. In both cases, these are critical issues with an impact on reputation: in April, on the occasion of the judgement of the Court of Turin (e.g. a Facebook Republic post of 12 April: “If a service is too convenient, someone generally takes too little”). 17 May, was a hot day for social media reactions to the statements made by Gianluca Cocco (CEO of Foodora) in an interview published the day before by Corriere della Sera (link).

The volume difference between Deliveroo and JustEat depicts a potentially critical situation for Deliveroo. As is clear from the graph in fig.2, JustEat shows a constant online presence that is also marked by positive peaks, the result of posts and interactions published on social media especially by users, customers and influencers. for example, the two events of February 2-3 are linked to the Instagram posts of influencers Sabrina Musco and Nunzia Cillo.

The situation is different for Deliveroo, whose presence is mainly linked to moments of critical reputation. Its most relevant peak of the last six months is related to a mention in a tweet by the Minister of Labor, Luigi Di Maio, on 4 June: “I thank @Deliveroo_Italy for the positive message it sent out to riders, and for the commitment they have showed. Let us get down to work straight away, so that we can achieve our goals and, at the same time, guarantee protection and growth in employment.” 57% of Deliveroo’s posts and interactions over the past six months have been done on Twitter, often in connection with controversy over gig economies and workers’ rights.



All home food delivery businesses in Italy, city by city

In order to better understand the diffusion of the analyzed players, it is important to explore the geographic differentiation of the contents that concern them. The data displayed here refer to the entire chronological range taken into consideration (fig. 3).


Fig.3: Geo-localized posts for the brands monitored and published between January and June 2018

The city of Rome collects the most geolocalized content with over 8,000 posts and interactions. It is followed by Milan with 5,400, Verrandin Val D’Aosta (thanks to the posts of the Instagram influencers Sabrina Musco and Nunzia Cillo) and then Naples, Bologna, and Cagliari.


Each district has its own speciality

We tried to explore in detail the originating locations of the posts for each brand, in order to discover the differences and strengths of the first Italian city in terms of geolocalized volumes: Rome. Below is a different view of the messages published for each food delivery company:



The geo-referenced contents draw different maps for each brand.  Moovenda has  a particularly strong concentration around the district of Testaccio. While Foodora and Deliveroo compete for conversations in the Garbatella area. Foodorasi took the lead in this area and also managed to position itself strongly in Cinecittà. Deliveroo is the most cited brand in Pigneto: here users cite the food just delivered or the local specialties available. JustEat does not emerge strongly in any district of the capital.

Social listening is the key tool in comparing with competitors, building a data-driven network presence strategy, finding its users or… helping the food manager to order the best lunch in the area!


Filippo Tansini

Analyst specializing in politics, finance, insurance, pharmaceutical. Expert of the Italian Language, he obtained a degree in Modern Philology, working on analyses and textual criticism. A PhD student at the Department of Theatre and New Media at La Sapienza in Rome, he worked as a data analyst for an international company, following projects of social reputation, product campaigns, landscape analyses for multinational companies. He has been a web reputation manager and data analyst at Cultur-e since 2015. He works on social media analysis services, monitoring of brands and top managers, marketing campaigns and crisis management. Languages: Italian and English.