Friday 19 July 2024

More men than women actively look up the calorie content
on Google or an app

Are men now more calorie-conscious than women?

DUBAI, December 10, 2018

More men than women in the UAE actively look up the calorie content on Google or an app and would want the entire menu to have the calories displayed (46 per cent versus 37 per cent respectively), according to a new  survey by YouGov, international data and analytics group.

The survey reveals that 65 per cent of respondents in the UAE claimed to eat out at least once a week. Of the surveyed respondents, UAE Men (68 per cent) as well as those who are married but without children (72 per cent) are some of the frequent diners, eating out regularly. Even the millennials, both, younger ones aged between 25-29 years (76 per cent) and slightly older ones, between 30-34 years (70 per cent) have also reported such trends.

A little under two-thirds of respondents (64 per cent) dine out at either Quick service restaurants (QSR) or casual dining restaurants (60 per cent). There was a stark contrast in the profiles of diners across the two restaurant types. The QSR chains are more frequented by people in the age group of 18-24 years (71 per cent), by singles living in the UAE (69 per cent) as well as by men (66 per cent). As a contrast to this, those aged 40+ (68 per cent), together with those who are married, preferred casual dining restaurants on the whole. Fine dining restaurants, on the other hand, are most preferred by Emiratis.

When asked about overall perception of calorie content across a range of cuisines consumers seemed to be fully aware of the spectrum from low too high for each dish.

Precaution taken

Eating at home (54 per cent), Exercise/ gym (51 per cent) and eating healthier meals (50 per cent) emerged as the top activities undertaken by people looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Surprisingly men (56 per cent) and Emiratis (68 per cent) seem to be more conscious of their health and exercise in a bid to stay healthy, compared to women and people of other nationalities.

On an overall level, 1 in 5 people keep a track of their calorie intake, something the survey found most common in Emiratis (31 per cent), those aged 40+ (24 per cent) and those whom are married without children (23 per cent).

When eating out, only a quarter of respondents claimed to always keep a track of their calorie intake, while 44 per cent don’t watch their calorie intake at all. Interestingly, those who are single (25 per cent) seem to be more interested in tracking, which stands as expected especially as they featured as eating out more often.

When it comes to keeping track of calories consumed, close to half (43 per cent) said they Google the calorie count of the ordered dish. About 36 per cent are well aware of the calories present in their dish, 29 per cent use an app and 23 per cent ask the server for information.

Close to half (43 per cent) would prefer restaurants showcasing calories on the entire menu while a quarter recommend restaurants having a separate 'low calorie' section, without showing the calorie count. Emiratis (53 per cent) and those aged between 30-34 years (50 per cent) more strongly proposition the former than the latter.

When understanding what type of establishment would one like to see display calorie information, the survey found half are of the opinion that QSR chains and fine dining restaurants should show calories on their menu. On the other hand, 42 per cent stated casual dining restaurants should offer a low calorie section without revealing the calories.

Calorie labelling - Yes or No?

In response to restaurants taking this big step towards promoting healthier lifestyles, close to 60 per cent of people said that restaurant menus displaying calorie labels would help them make better choices while ordering food. The sentiment of ‘making better meal choices’ has been high across all the different types of restaurants, more so for QSRs. Although the movement to introduce this to menus is positive and welcomed by a large percentage, a quarter of respondents claimed it would not change their eating habits.

About 45 per cent have even shown willingness to pay a premium to have a low calorie version of their favourite dish. Not only have the Emiratis demonstrated more enthusiasm to make informed food choices due to calorie labelled menus, but 66 per cent of them have also claimed to pay a premium for healthier versions of food.

Overall, men have been more vocal about their influence when it comes to food choices. They are taking more steps to ensure a healthy lifestyle, keeping a track of their calorie intake and are also more willing to pay a higher price for healthier food (48 per cent). Women, on the other hand, seem to rely on their prior knowledge of calorie information to make their food choices, and in comparison, are less likely to feel the need to monitor or be reminded of calories when eating out.

Kerry McLaren, head of YouGov Omnibus, said: “We are seeing some positive steps here in the UAE, with a high percentage of diners showing a keen interest in monitoring their food consumption. Balance in your diet is key and with fast food being so heavily advertised in this part of the world it is positive to see that although respondents don’t quite want to step away from dining in quick service restaurants they do want to be aware of the calories they are consuming when eating these foods. It definitely shows steps towards making healthier choices.”

“It is interesting to see some breaks in stereotype between the genders when it comes to monitoring your calorie intake. We are programmed to think that women are the more calories conscious gender when actually these results show men stepping forward as the ones who would like to be openly mindful of what they are consuming,” McLaren added. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Women | Menu | YouGov | men | calories | Eating out |

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