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Dubai street foods (noodles): Summary analysis

noodles

Buyers in Asia prefer street food in general because it’s fast, delicious, healthy and allows social interactions. Street food is meant to provide an experiential element that’s not available in such outlets in Dubai. Here, very few street food vendors (whether in kiosks or food trucks) offer original experiences as street food vendors do abroad. In this city, street food service is mostly conventional, which goes a long to explain why street food was very popular for a short time before the bubble burst a few years ago.

EFFECTS OF STREET FOODS

Positive effects

  • Street food is relatively cheap
  • There is a wide selection of it
  • It’s often good quality
  • It’s entertaining and appetizing, buyers can the food being handled and cooked while being entertained
  • It’s authentic
  • Street food is profitable
  • It’s fast food and not junk food
  • New recipes and cuisines are always being introduced
  • It’s social; eating together brings people and cultures together
  • It’s mobile
  • It boost local economies
  • Low entry barriers

Negative effects

  • Street food is seasonal and weather dependent
  • Limited type of food sold
  • Risk of contamination
  • Lacks social status sometimes
  • Quality of food can be questionable at times

Most popular street foods around the world

Worldwide demand by territory of origin Percentage
Southeast Asia 34%
Western Europe 18%
Latin America 15%
South Asia 11%
MENA 7%
Eastern Europe 6%
North America 5%
Islands 2%
Africa 1%
Australia 1%
Total 100%

People around the world prefer Southeast Asian street foods; in particular, Japanese foods are the most popular, followed by Mexican foods.

Most popular street foods worldwide

Focus: Southeast Asia

Percentage of market demand (out of total worldwide demand for street foods)Percentage of demand for noodles (including ramen) out of total demand for Southeast Asian cuisinePercentage of demand for noodles (excluding ramen) out of total demand for Southeast Asian cuisine
34% 27% 21%


Most demanded casual foods in Dubai

By type of main ingredient

Category Percentage*
Grains-based (Noodles, falafel, Koshary etc.) 33%
Protein-based (Beef, Chicken, Shrimp etc.) 29%
Bakery-based (Logmat, Roqaiqat, samosa etc.) 23%
Pastry (Kunafa, Doughnuts etc.) 8%
Beverages (Coffee, Tea) 7%
Vegetables-based (Tofu etc.) 3%
Total 100%

Dubai diners preference for grain-based casual foods

By type of cooking

Category Sub-Category Percentage*
Grains Ramen 42%
Grains Noodles 31%
Grains Falafel 8%
Grains Koshary 8%
Grains Beans 6%
Grains Grains 3%
Grains Pasta 3%
Total 100%

Breakdown of Dubai population in 2020

Age bracket Percentage Male Female total
0 – 14 14.50% 254,414 238,319 492,733
15 – 24 7.90% 147,344 123,473 270,817
25 – 54 68% 1,776,181 543,639 2,319,820
55 – 64 7.70% 224,860 37,147 262,007
+65 years 2% 49,901 14,722 64,623
Total 100% 2,452,700 957,300 3,410,000

Eating behavior – Street foods

Eating occasion Percentage
Breakfast 22.7%
Lunch 43.7%
Dinner 42%
Snacks 22.6%

Frequency of consuming all kinds of fast foods by age in 2020 – International markets

Age bracket Less than 1 time a week 1 – 3 times a week 4 – 6 times a week 7 – 9 times a week Over 10 times a week Country in question
18 – 29 18% 26% 7% 2% 1% USA
30 – 49 26% 36% 8% 2% 1% USA
50 – 64 39% 35% 5% 1% 0% USA
73% Netherlands
53% India

Trend in eating fast foods in the UAE

YearPercentage of population who eat out Notes
2010 30%
2015 28%
2020 17%
2020-Pandemic 6% Covid-19

Frequency of eating fast foods and spending per visit in the UAE35

All market segments Number of visits per month Average spending per person per visit (AED)
Average 3.8 75
Median 3.5

Food delivery apps

Delivery apps charge restaurants as high as 35% commission fees per order. Only recently, did Noon and Careem reduce this charge to 17% in order to force other delivery service providers out of the market but they impose conditions on vendors.

Share of business that comes from delivery

Limit 1 Limit2 Findings Weighted share
Over 50% 4% 2%
25% 50% 27% 10%
10% 25% 32% 6%
Less than 10% 14% 1%
0% 23% 0%
Total 19%

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