Italian and Middle Eastern cuisines are most popular among meat eaters in UAE
October 16th, 2023, Bhawna Singh

Italian and Middle Eastern cuisines are most popular among meat eaters in UAE

Latest research from YouGov survey looks at the dietary choices of UAE residents and reveals their food preferences. Data from the survey shows that almost half of UAE residents (45%) identify themselves as meat eaters, eating any kind of meat. A quarter say they are Flexitarians, or those who are mostly vegetarian but occasionally eat meat or fish (25%). The rest are either vegetarian (9%), pescetarian (7%) or vegan (3%).

While a meat eater’s diet is the most common one across genders, men are slightly (46%) more likely than women (42%) to regularly consumer meat and poultry. Meanwhile, women (28%) are slightly more likely than men (25%) to be flexitarians.

Across generations, a meat-eating diet is most common – but especially among 35+ adults, where almost half say they regularly consume meat or poultry.

A look at the cuisines by dietary preferences shows that Italian is the top cuisine among meat eaters (at 35%), followed by Indian (34%) and Middle Eastern cuisine (32%). Flexitarians’ choices are slightly different- with Indian taking the top spot (40%), followed by Chinese and Middle Eastern (28% each).

For vegetarians, it is Indian (44%), followed by Italian (34%) and Chinese (23%). Italian and Middle Eastern cuisines are notably more popular among meat eaters while French cuisine has a stronger resonance with pescatarians as compared to others (at 25%). When choosing what to eat, taste and health are equally important for UAE residents (42% each), ahead of cost (9%)- is a much lower priority. The preferences, however, vary according to dietary choices. Taste is the top priority for meat eaters (59%), followed by health (32%).

The reverse is true for vegetarians and flexitarians, where health is the topmost priority (58% and 59%, respectively), followed by taste (22% and 32%). Cost is the lowest consideration for all when deciding what to eat.

Finally, when it comes to their favourite snacks, nuts tops the list, with three in ten (31%) UAE residents choosing it as their favourite snack. Fruits are second the list (28%), followed by cakes & pastries (21%), cookies (18%) and crisps/chips (16%).

Flexitarians’ priority for health is evident in their snacking choices as well. They are more likely to pick nuts and fruits or seeds for snacks as compared to meat eaters. For the latter, crisps and chips are significantly more relevant as snacking options as compared to others.


YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This data is based on a survey of adults aged 18+ years in UAE with a sample size of 1003 respondents. The survey was conducted online between October 5 and 12, 2023. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.