The Guangzhou Food and Drug Administration held a meeting in late February on food safety in the online-to-offline (O2O) catering industry and announced that inspection of O2O food shops begins in March.
Representatives from major food delivery companies such as Baidu Waimai, Meituan-Dianping and Tencent-backed ele.me participated in the meeting.
The rapid popularization of mobile phones has laid a solid foundation for the development of the O2O market in China. Driven by the "Internet Plus" plan, O2O services are taking over China's market with gusto, covering food delivery, traffic, etc.
The O2O catering sector has become a multibillion-yuan industry. Users of food delivery services ordered about 45.78 billion yuan worth of meals online in 2015, an increase of more than 200 percent over 2014, according to a report by a think tank named Analysys.
As an emerging industry, O2O not only teams with opportunities, it also faces many potential risks. And of those risks, food safety gets the most attention in the food delivery market.
“Safety inspection of over 24,000 Guangzhou’s food shops registered with food delivery companies begins in March,” officials from the food and drug administration announced.
Baidu Waimai, Meituan-Dianping and Ele.me have made efforts to take responsibility for food safety supervision. For example, Baidu Waimai asks food suppliers to show business licenses and photos of the food shops on its smartphone application. Meituan-Dianping analyzes large and varied data sets in an effort to find solutions to food safety problems. And Ele.me provides access to food shop kitchens through live webcasts.
(By Annie Lee, Louis Berney)