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Eye of Riyadh
Tourism & Hospitality | Tuesday 11 December, 2018 2:00 pm |

2019 Foodcast: Uber Eats predicts 2019 will be the year veganism goes mainstream

According to the latest Uber Eats FoodCast released today, 2019 will be the year the veganism becomes mainstream across the Middle East and Africa.  

Based on the biggest increases in customer search volumes on the Uber Eats app over the last 6 months, edible flowers and meat substitutes like seitan and heme are set to appear on many more restaurant menus across the region next year.


The complete list of the most popular food trends for 2019 includes:

  1. Edible flowers (borage blossoms, lavender and hibiscus)

  2. Seiten (the protein rich, meat substitute)

  3. Manaeesh (daily bread of the Eastern Mediterranean)

  4. Heme (an ingredient which allows plant based food to ‘bleed’)

  5. Poke (Hawaiian sushi bowl)

Showing the changing palates of vegans to flexitarians, jackfruit, often seen as the vegan alternative to pulled meat, is predicted to fall out of flavour with many as the meat-free offering widens.

In addition, clean-eating staples matcha and aloe vera are also on the list of items Uber Eats data shows will decline in the coming 12 months. And coffees will return to being a hot drink, as cold brew also makes the top five list of food and drink items anticipated to be in decline.

To uncover insights around these foodie favourites, Uber Eats analysed more than 191 million searches on the app across the Middle East and Africa over the last six months.


Most popular foods of 2018

Alongside predicting what’s going to be hot and what’s not next year, the 2019 Uber Eats FoodCast also revealed Saudi Arabia’s most popular foods of 2018. The Middle East’s love for garlic continues, topping the list of most searched for items.

Hummus has retained its position as one of the most popular food items in the Kingdom, coming in at number 2, followed closely by Ginger as the third most popular food.

Traditional Middle Eastern items such as tahini, hummus and dates feature alongside punchy international flavours such as miso, truffle, sriracha, chia and quinoa in the top 20 food searches of 2018.

For Saudi Arabia, the top 20 most popular items include:



  1. Garlic

  • Hummus

  • Ginger

  • Tahini

  • Quinoa

  • Honey

  • Chia

  • Dates

  • Pumpkin

  • Truffle

  • Coconut

  • Haloumi

  • Miso

  • Bulgur

  • Farro

  • Tofu

  • Vegan

  • Beets

  • Turmeric

  • Sriracha


“As our search data shows, food preferences are constantly evolving and the latest is a rise in socially-conscious diners.  In line with this, we expect to see veganism become increasingly mainstream, rising from just a few percent in each country to a lifestyle choice for millions of individuals. According to Jeanette Mellinger, Head of Uber Eats User Research, as people become more conscious of what they eat, we can expect plant-based superfoods to continue to rise in popularity.

“Customer search volumes also show that food delivery apps like Uber Eats are quickly transforming food delivery from a guilty pleasure at the weekend, to an increasing important part of our daily food habits. As we look ahead to 2019, we also expect to see customers search for more low-cost, healthier, ‘everyday’ meal options,” said Ms. Mellinger.

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