Focus Management International

Call +44 (0) 1625 560778 or email

International FMCG Recruitment Specialists

Food Survey Reveals UAE Habits

Main Image 19 September 2016 | Adam Berry

A new food survey has revealed the eating habits of those who live in the UAE.

Carried out by KPMG, it offers some interesting facts about the changing culture of the region, with more residents starting to follow certain trends.

Eating out is king

The results of the survey suggest that more and more residents of the UAE are starting to eat out on a daily basis, choosing this option rather than cooking at home.

This interesting statistic is that 44% of the population eat lunch out or order in a takeaway on a daily basis. When it comes to dinner time, 67% have dinner out at least every weekend, with many doing so more often.

840 respondents were quizzed in the survey to find out what kind of eating habits they stick to. They also asked about previous habits to get some idea of how times are changing. It seems that 5 in every 6 respondents are now eating out more or the same rate as they did back in 2015, which is a big increase overall. Two thirds of those asked also spend more on eating out or ordering takeaways than they did last year. The food industry in the UAE is truly booming, and results like these suggest that the trend is still going strong – so we can expect to see those figures increase even further.

43% of those who took the survey say they spend as much as Dhs51 to Dhs100 on just one takeaway meal, though 38% prefer to spend less than Dhs50 on the same meal. A further 33% said that they are happy to pay between Dhs101 to Dhs300 whenever they go out to eat. It’s no wonder that there are plenty of international food jobs available in the UAE right now.

Changing lifestyles

When looking at the results it’s clear to see that there is a big shift in the culture here. So what is causing it? Vikrant Rohatgi is the Associate Director at KPMG, and he thinks he knows the answer to this question.

He said: “Around 80 to 90 per cent of people living here are expats, the majority of whom are single and working, which means cooking at home is not very prevalent. Hence they prefer eating out. There is also the social fabric of meeting people over lunch or dinner, catching up with friends and the whole thing around summer months, when there are very few options for people to entertain themselves with.”

When a culture has many single people living on their own due to their busy working lives, it’s clear that they will have less time to cook for themselves. This does go a long way towards explaining how things are changing in the UAE.

Brunch is best

Brunch is a traditional meal in the UAE and remains popular, with 66% of those taking the survey saying that they will eat brunch at least once per month. 42% were willing to pay between Dhs100 and Dhs 300 on just one brunch meal, while 14% would even spend more than Dhs300 on brunch.

“Brunches, something of a UAE tradition, tend to see higher spends and are extremely popular,” said Rohatgi.

Those with food jobs in the UAE would perhaps do well to exploit the findings of this survey in their work. It’s clear that residents here are more willing to pay a large price to eat out or takeaway for brunch. Restaurants which do not have a specific brunch menu, perhaps with higher prices than the lunch menu, are missing out on potential revenue.



Search for FMCG Jobs here