The Holy Month of Ramadan has set a new benchmark for homemakers as their social demands compete with spiritual sentiments. A recent study by Kantar AMRB reveals a distinct shift in behavior gravitating towards creation of a festive Ramadan feel, less interactive family time, nutritious food, creative presentation and convenient meal options.
AMRB, part of the Kantar Group of companies, carried a comparative in-depth study of consumer behavior during Ramadan as a guide for marketers to design their Ramadan specific strategies. The research, 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.
A deviation from the past, today’s woman believes in putting together healthier meal options, be it for Iftar, Suhoor, dinner or snacks. From 2012 to 2016, consumption of healthy food has increased to 17 percent from 10 percent, and foods and beverages such as fruits, laban, green tea, juices, soups and salads increasing their presence on 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, etc., which impacts well being. There is also a reassessment of choices to minimize 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. For example, in Saudi Arabia, there is a 56 percent 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,” said Edwin Coutinho, Associate Vice President, Kantar AMRB.
“Cooking bases, such as dough and fillings, are also prepared before-hand while more women are now on the lookout 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 percent from 66 percent in 2012. In fact, out of the food consumed at Iftar, 58 percent is store-bought,” he added.
Driven by peer pressure, particularly on virtual platforms, women are also finding it a constant challenge to reinvent their style. Innovative, yet economic menus, smarter cutlery, captivating presentation and a creative home décor add to the overall experience as well as feel of festive dining. Decorations now filling the table enhance the sense of abundance around dishes. This reflects women’s sense of sophistication and finesse regarding food display and their sense of personality and creativity to a larger audience virtually. An increasing number of women are finding ideas on social platforms like Pintrest, Instagram as well as movies, which have inspired them to infuse a celebratory and fun filled spirit in Ramadan in terms of activities and home décor.
A few other key findings of the report include:
#1. Coffee consumption increases by 22 percent during Ramadan as compared to other days, while tea consumption reduces by 19 percent; Arabic Coffee remains the favorite.
#2. Sambousek is one of the key dishes consumed during Ramadan, showing 71 percent increase from non-Ramadan days.
#3. Desserts consumption increases significantly during Ramadan (by 30 percent); sweets like Kunafah that require more effort to prepare are mostly bought from shops / restaurants.
#4. Chocolate and Shawarma are seeing an increase during filler with chips and biscuits showing a decline
# 5. Consumers prefer more cold beverages in Ramadan as compared to hot beverages; soda consumption has decreased by 9 percent while laban consumption has increased by 6 percent among all cold beverages.