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29% of surveyed Emiratis plan to utilize local food services and food delivery platforms this Ramadan, TGM reveals

The notion of convenience has become integral to contemporary lifestyles, and Ramadan is no exception.

29% of surveyed Emiratis plan to utilize local food services and food delivery platforms this Ramadan, TGM reveals

The holy month of Ramadan holds profound significance for Muslims worldwide, marked by fasting from dawn till dusk, prayers, reflection, and acts of charity. In the UAE, Ramadan is not only a time of spiritual devotion but also a period where communal bonds are strengthened, and cultural traditions are celebrated. One of the most notable aspects of Ramadan in the UAE is the transformation of eating habits and culinary practices.

This article aims to delve into the unique eating habits observed in the UAE during Ramadan, exploring the cultural, social, and economic factors that shape the dining experiences of Emiratis and residents alike during this sacred month. Through an examination of traditional customs, contemporary trends, and the impact of globalization, we seek to gain insights into the rich tapestry of food culture that defines Ramadan in the UAE.

Gourmet galore: an upsurge in food budget
Embrace of convenience: a time of culinary exploration
Ramadan's most popular dishes

Gourmet Galore: An Upsurge in Food Budget

While fasting during Ramadan entails abstaining from food and drink from before sunset until sunrise, its essence transcends mere deprivation. For many Muslims, Ramadan fasting represents a period of mindfulness – a time to express gratitude and celebrate life’s abundance. In fact, 96% of surveyed Emiratis actively observe Ramadan each year in the UAE, indicating a significant cultural engagement.

Contrary to common assumptions, food consumption during Ramadan exceeds typical levels, emphasizing the pivotal role of culinary traditions in the culture and social fabric of the month. According to TGM Ramadan Insights in the UAE 2024 report, Emirati respondents plan to allocate nearly half of their Ramadan expenses to food and beverages (45%) this year, with 57% intending to spend more than the previous year.

Notably, variations based on gender and age were observed. While male respondents expressed a higher inclination to allocate additional expenses towards food and beverages (64%), female respondents exhibited a lower intent (46%). Among all age groups, Emiratis aged 25-29 displayed the highest intention to allocate funds, with an impressive 78%, surpassing other demographics.

Embrace of Convenience: A Time of Culinary Exploration

Approximately 55% of Muslims in the UAE choose to dine outside their homes during Ramadan each year. In the contemporary era, meal preparation extends beyond home kitchens, as the demands of modern life leave little time for extensive cooking. According to the TGM Ramadan Insights UAE 2024 report, 39% of Emiratis will have someone else prepare their meals. Additionally, 29% will opt for the convenience of ordering from local restaurants or utilizing food delivery applications, enabling them to focus on spiritual pursuits and quality time with loved ones.

This trend is particularly prominent among males (34%) and the younger to middle-aged demographics, notably those aged 25-29 (34%) and 30-39 (31%). It underscores the significant growth of the food delivery sector in the UAE, where delivery applications have become synonymous with convenience, offering opportunities for businesses and consumers alike.

While these modern practices may reshape traditional customs, the spirit of togetherness and celebration remains, albeit in evolving forms, as Muslims adapt to the changing rhythms of Ramadan in the modern era.

Top 5 Favourite Ramadan Dishes Among Emiratis

What are the top five dishes that Emiratis eagerly anticipate during Ramadan in the UAE?
  • Samosas: These crispy pastries filled with flavorful ingredients offer a delightful start to iftar meals
  • Biryani: A fragrant rice dish layered with spices and tender meat, serving as a beloved staple during Ramadan
  • Haerees: A hearty porridge made from wheat and meat, providing comfort and sustenance during long fasting days
  • Mahshi: Stuffed vegetables brimming with savory fillings, offering a taste of tradition and home-cooked goodness
  • Fragrant Rice: Whether served plain or as part of a larger dish, fragrant rice serves as a versatile and essential component of Emirati Ramadan cuisine
These dishes not only satiate hunger but also evoke a sense of cultural pride and familial warmth during the sacred month of Ramadan.
Discover more insights on Ramadan in the UAE – Download the full report at TGM Ramadan Insights in the UAE 2024.
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