Buying fresh, better quality food driving UAE consumer preferences, Bord Bia survey reveals


Results from a survey of UAE shoppers revealed that consumers have shifted towards placing higher value on buying fresh, quality food, as a result of the global pandemic.

Commissioned by the Irish Food Board – Bord Bia – the survey of UAE shoppers was conducted to better understand the impact of the global pandemic on shopping behaviour. They indicate significant changes made by shoppers across the UAE, who have become more conscious of the health benefits of the food they are consuming, its quality, and country of origin.

Consumers are increasingly making healthier food choices in their weekly shopping trips to the supermarket by making choices for food products based on nutritional values in their diets, with a greater value placed on their health and wellbeing because of the pandemic. Consumers are looking at food options that may help boost their immune systems.

Consumers are also looking for higher quality food products when deciding their purchases, meaning quality over value is winning in the race of informed choices to fill shopping baskets. Combined with this, is the increase in home cooking from scratch and exploring new recipes to serve up. This may be a consequence of more people now working from home rather than being in the office.  

Reacting to the survey findings, Bord Bia Middle East Director Claudia Saumell says, “These revealing findings show the pandemic impact on shoppers is directly leading to decisions about what goes into the weekly shopping basket. Based on these results, we can see why UAE shoppers are increasingly picking Irish food and drink products to include in their weekly shop or choosing Irish based ingredients off the menu which come with the strong reputation for exceptional taste, of highest quality and produced to world leading standards.”

“Irish food producers are increasingly winning in the global export race for food and drink products. Here in the UAE and wider Middle East region, Irish food exports increased by 12 percent last year, with dairy products alone having increased by 15 percent to a staggering 1.5 billion Dirhams, making the region a key strategic market choice for Irish food producers.”

Irish beef is now widely available across the region in retail outlets in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and food service in several of the major hotels and restaurants in the UAE.

Food producers like John Stone Ltd, a long-term exporter of premium beef to the UAE and wider region, are enjoying sustained success in demand of their premium products. They were also the first to receive the National Halal Mark in the UAE, making the UAE a key market for the company. Attending Gulfood 2021 in Dubai this week, John Stone Ltd will be present on the Bord Bia stand and will be seeking to build further upon their exports to the region.