Facing the health crisis that COVID has provided has forced many of us to reconsider our personal well being. Coupled with this, we have been restricted to our homes, compelled to prepare our own food. Borderless Access surveyed people living in the Middle East, specifically the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, to see how these factors have affected the type of food people are eating and how people are getting this food.
A rise in health consciousness
Eliminating or reducing the amount of meat products they eat has been the most notable change in people’s diets since the start of the pandemic. Globally, 57% of people have experimented with vegan or vegetarian diets, with a further 20% saying they are consciously trying to eat less meat. Saudi Arabians follow this pattern (with a greater proportion of people opting for vegan as opposed to vegetarian meals). In the UAE there is still a dramatic shift towards meatless options, but to a lesser degree than its neighbour.
Following low-fat, low-sugar or low-carbohydrate diets has been popular everywhere, including in the Middle East, however, this group of people (especially Saudi Arabians) appear to be particularly health-conscious, with many people also trying to reduce gluten, salt and dairy products.