Kantar AMRB reveals the new spirit of Ramadan

RetailME Bureau

The holy month of Ramadan is just around the corner. Highlighting some unique behavioural shifts, research and consultancy firm Kantar AMRB has released a study, the highlights being creation of a festive Ramadan feel, less interactive family time, nutritious food, creative presentation and convenient meal options.

The research titled ‘Ramadan Connect 2.0’, took into account face-to-face interviews, focus groups and ethnographic interviews with local women to get a clearer picture of the finer nuances, trends and changes in the pattern during the holy month.

A deviation from the past, today’s woman believes in putting together healthier meal options, be it for Iftaar, Suhoor, dinner or snacks. From 2012-16, consumption of healthy food has increased to 17% from 10%. Item like fruits, laban, green tea, juices, soups and salads increasingly figure at the dining table.

Similarly, there is a growing focus on balanced meals to avoid the negative effects of ailments like indigestion, bloating, sudden weight gain and so on, which impacts wellbeing. There is also a reassessment of choices to minimise wastage in line with Ramadan’s spirit of austerity and simplicity.

“The key consumer concerns that homemakers face in Ramadan focus on how to create a perfect meal without compromising on taste, quality and presentation,” says Edwin Coutinho, associate vice president, Kantar AMRB, “For example, in Saudi Arabia, there is a 56% decrease in kitchen help in the last four years. Hence, more women have to rely on themselves to prepare meals and this puts a lot of onus on them. This requires a lot of planning in advance and we have seen a marked shift from a bulk-based buying approach to a need-based approach; that is, they plan out what they need and buy smartly. Cooking bases, such as dough and fillings, are also prepared before-hand while more women are now on a look out for ready meals for smoother cooking experience. Another trend includes ordering in – mostly limited to side dishes – and the number of dishes prepared at home has reduced to 53% from 66% in 2012. In fact, out of the food consumed at Iftar, 58% is store-bought.”

A few other key findings of the report include:

  • Coffee consumption increases by 22% during Ramadan as compared to other days, while tea consumption reduces by 19%; Arabic Coffee remains the favourite.
  • Sambousek is one of the key dishes consumed during Ramadan, showing 71% increase from non-Ramadan
  • Desserts consumption increases significantly during Ramadan (by 30%); sweets like kunafah that require more effort to prepare are mostly bought from shops/restaurants.
  • Chocolate and shawarma are seeing an increase during filler with chips and biscuits showing a decline
  • Consumers prefer more cold beverages in Ramadan compared to hot beverages; soda consumption has decreased by 9%, while laban consumption has increased by 6% among all cold beverages.