The COVID-19 pandemic birthed many changes in our way of living. What was traditionally done face-to-face had to be carried out online. It was well-expected for work and study, but for the food and beverages (F&B) industry, not so much. While e-groceries had existed for a while pre-pandemic, being quarantined at home made them much more popular.
A lot of people thought that the pandemic would immensely weaken the F&B industry. With limited capacities in restaurants and other food establishments, it was only natural for the public to have such projections. It didn’t necessarily end up becoming true, however, according to a 2022 report by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The F&B industry’s sales grew by 255% in the UAE in 2020. But it wasn’t the traditional F&B industry as we knew it—but rather, its online counterpart. Come the third quarter of 2021, F&B trade in the UAE had reached over $20 billion.
A good chunk of these sales is from “quick commerce” or q-commerce. While it sounds a bit complicated, it mostly just refers to on-demand deliveries or e-groceries. But such enormous growth begs the question, why did more people turn to it, and how has it improved their lifestyle during the pandemic?
The hype behind e-groceries
According to the consumer intelligence website Talkwalker, consumers in the Middle East have become “more price conscious than ever, and have been continuously seeking ways to save, whether through loyalty programs, coupons, or simply limiting their spending.” On top of this, the transition to online had turned more consumers into digital natives.
It’s easy to deduce everything else from these facts. With global inflation expected to rise to 6.7% this year, people just aren’t willing to spend as much money on commutes and gas as they were pre-pandemic. Prices are steadily rising everywhere. Thus, even the simplest errands such as going to the groceries or buying food outside can often become more costly due to the additional costs of transportation.
The quick and easy solution? Have them sent to your doorstep. Instead of commuting to and from the grocery store or your favorite restaurant, it incurs the one-time cost of delivery. E-groceries help you cut costs not only in that regard. But also in the way it can set you up to prepare your own food at home instead of eating out.
E-groceries, DIY food
Eating outside is an activity more on the social side in the UAE than anywhere else. The food scene there is one of the best in the world. But with COVID in their midst, UAE residents inevitably had to tone down on the outside food to keep themselves safe. This is why home cooking had become more popular recently. Cookbooks, cooking classes, and cooking tutorials started to get more attention on the internet.
Fitness trainer and nutrition expert Mudit Malhotra encouraged home cooking in an interview with Gulf News. According to her, “Outside food tends to typically be high in chemical additives, hormones, sugar, salt, unhealthy fats and is generally high in calories which can adversely affect your mental health and outlook.”
Other than cooking your own food at home, utilizing e-groceries for gathering the needed ingredients are also beneficial. For starters, you could create a quick shopping list and have someone else collect the items for you. During that time, you get extra leeway to do other tasks, be it for work, personal endeavors, or family-related matters. But that’s only where the good stuff begins.
The many benefits of prepping your meals
Cooking at home has more to offer than just saving time and money and keeping you safer during the pandemic. While home cooking is generally healthier, it also gives you more control over your consumption. Knowing exactly how much of an ingredient to put in, for example, is extremely beneficial for those on a diet. You don’t have the same autonomy when eating out, as meals from restaurants are often packed with lots of butter and salt.
Now that the physical stuff is out of the way, it’s time to discuss the mental health benefits you can gain from preparing your own meals. A little bit of creativity each day gives people feel a better sense of personal development. At least, that’s what these psychologists found in their study. Cooking requires some of that creativity. It’s been found to improve emotional wellbeing so much that it can help treat depression and anxiety. Even certain symptoms from eating disorders, addiction, and ADHD can be somewhat alleviated.
But on the more surface-level side of things, cooking simply helps you connect more with others, be it family or friends. You making the food makes space for more conversation in the kitchen, which fosters more socialization. All in all, cooking at home is healthy both physically and mentally!
E-groceries as a timely innovation
Learning to cook isn’t easy for everyone, but there are countless resources online that can help. As for ingredients, e-groceries are definitely one of the best ways to go during the lockdown. These delivery services have improved so much more in recent years to adapt. With its help, the F&B industry is set to stay afloat despite the ongoing health crisis. Why not utilize it to better your lifestyle through home cooking as well?
If you’re looking to spice up your home-cooked meals, these condiments might be able to help! And because making drinks is a bit different from cooking food, you can even add some of these healthy beverages to the mix. Here are also some recipes you can start with.