In the UK, a takeaway company is now worth more than almost every major supermarket

Slicing the market.
Slicing the market.
Image: Reuters/Thomas Peter
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Tastes are changing. It used to be that when you were hungry, you either had to go the supermarket or, if you were feeling lazy, a local restaurant to order takeout. Now, in the UK, a delivery company that doesn’t produce, cook, or even sell food is worth more than most of the country’s major supermarkets.

Just Eat, a company that specializes in the ordering and delivering of mass-market takeaway food, is set to join the FTSE 100, the UK’s benchmark stock index, just three and a half years after going public.

The company’s stock has surged 40% this year, giving it a market value of £5.6 billion ($7.5 billion). The increase has made it bigger than two of the UK’s largest listed supermarket groups, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, which are valued at £5 billion and £5.1 billion, respectively.

Just Eat—similar to Grubhub and Seamless in the US—is set to keep on growing; last month, it got preliminary approval to acquire its smaller rival Hungryhouse (paywall). This could help it defend its turf against newer rivals like Deliveroo and Uber Eats. The quarterly reshuffle of the FTSE’s UK indexes will be announced later today, with decisions made based on yesterday’s closing prices.

“Customers are fast adopting online ordering as their default order route and Just Eat has been growing orders and revenues at a rate of knots,” Nicholas Hyett, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said in a note. Still, Just Eat has a way to go before it threatens the UK’s largest chain of supermarkets, Tesco, which has a market value of more than £15 billion.