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Zomato releases food trends during Ramadan in the UAE

Zomato, UAE’s largest restaurant discovery and food ordering platform, looked into their vast expanse of data and has shared some interesting insights on user search patterns and trends they noticed during Ramadan, over the last few years.

For example, when they took a look at the user search patterns for restaurant discovery and food ordering in the UAE in 2015, they noticed a stark difference in user behaviour when they compared pre-Ramadan search data to user search patterns during Ramadan. It goes without saying that the consumption of food, hypothetically speaking, goes down for a long stretch of time during the holy month. However, that doesn’t mean that food isn’t given significance in terms of variety or choice during this period. On the contrary, a lot more time and thought is dedicated to what’s going to be consumed during Suhoor or Iftar.

Specialty dishes are the clear winners.

Zomato releases food trends during Ramadan in the UAE

Key trends:

Searches for speciality items (Haleem, Kunafa and Ilk) increased significantly during Ramadan.
Biryani witnessed its search volumes double while Kebabs went threefold the number of searches compared to pre-Ramadan period.
Discovery of food items like Sheer Khurma, Katayef, Baklava, Basbousa, Lamb Ouzi, Al Kabsa, Basbous and Umm Ali displayed a positive trend.
What’s worth noting here is that certain dishes with traditional roots managed to remain in the radar in spite of fluctuations in other categories.

Time matters.

Key trends:

Although the Iftar Collection (a collection of restaurants that offer Ramadan-specific menus) on Zomato clearly trumped the chart, what’s more interesting to note is the time frame when users searched for restaurant options. The search time is divided into three sets.
Suhoor-related searches saw a 52% bump in traffic month-over-month (MoM) between midnight and 4:00am.
Search volumes during lunch time (noon to 3.00pm) saw a dip of 18% during Ramadan compared to the data in pre-Ramadan period.
Zomato saw a 27% bump in searches in the evening between 5.00pm and 7.00pm, prior to Iftar.

Going with the tide.

Key trends:

For a lot of people, Ramadan also signifies a month of gathering, as family members are visited. This translates to either going out for Iftar or ordering in. Of course, different people have different tendencies in choosing outdoor locations for Iftar.
Unsurprisingly, the Iftar Collection added 35% to the overall share of Collections traffic during Ramadan. A major takeaway being Collections were used by consumers massively as decision making tool to find Iftar options.
Shisha Hangouts Collection saw a decline compared to the pre-Ramadan days.

Spoilt for choice.

Key trends:

Zomato users in Dubai and Abu Dhabi showed consistency in their appetite for certain cuisines.
Searches for Indian (North Indian, South Indian and Biryani in particular), Mexican, Italian, Middle Eastern and Bakery fare increased exponentially.
On the other hand, searches for Chinese, Lebanese, and American cuisine considerably declined.
Overall, cuisine-based searches increased during Ramadan. Which basically means the consumers in 2015 were greatly driven by their taste buds — or should we assume, were in an exploratory mood? — compared to the month preceding Ramadan.
Luxury Dining and Indian Restaurants remained remarkably steady.

It’s undeniable that Suhoor and Iftar add the element of festivity to Ramadan. Which is precisely why the above highlighted trends are not only entertaining but also enlightening. With Zomato’s Iftar Collections (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) in place, it’d be interesting to see whether the upcoming month sticks to established trends or creates a new chart of its own.

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