In Focus
RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Shifting mealtimes, social media-led food crazes amongst expected trends in Hong Kong this year

A survey from Deliveroo offers a glimpse into potential opportunities in the city.

Expect to see changing mealtimes, desks becoming the new dining table, pan-Asian cuisines and more people turning to social media for foodie inspiration, according to Deliveroo Hong Kong.

The delivery firm’s research reveals that 27% of Hong Kongers say they are now eating breakfast earlier than they used to, with over one in three Hong Kongers (36%) now have breakfast before 8am.

Some people are also eating lunch and dinner later in the day, with over 27% of survey respondents saying they eat lunch later and 25% eating dinner later, as compared to when the pandemic started.

Hong Kongers, meanwhile, showed a strong increase for at-desk dining, with over 31% reporting that they eat takeaway and delivery lunches at their workstation, and 29% opting to do the same with homemade meals.

The so-called “al desko” lunch trend, Deliveroo said, likely comes down to work from home dominating the calendar year, many people continued to work during meal break to buy time, leading to the rise of such occasions. As workers adapted to work from home setups, 39% reported to eat from their dining tables at lunch time, while 29% opted to stay at their desks, 8% on their sofas and 4% even reported eating from their beds.

Healthier, wider choices
In terms of categories, Deliveroo saw a growing demand for meat and dairy alternatives in 2020, with over 50% of Hong Kongers reporting that they plan to opt for oat and other nut-based products in 2021. 48% said they would like more plant-based meat-alternatives for the new year and 30% said they have purchased more non-alcoholic drinks.

Deliveroo said the number of flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans has steadily risen over the past few years, with over 20% of Deliveroo platforms experiencing an uptick in plant-based orders.

Over 45% of survey respondents said they explored new Japanese restaurants, whilst 36% favoured Korean cuisine and 22% opted for new plates from Thai restaurants.

Social media-led food crazes, online ordering still “vital”
2020 also saw consumers hopping on food trends including homemade pasta (34%), dalgona whipped coffee (26%) and sourdough bread (18%). Deliveroo predicts that 2021 will continue to show Hong Kongers “embracing all kinds of photo-worthy food trends”, with 25% of consumers saying they want to see more CBD-infused foods in 2021 and 48% wanting the trend of fermented foods like kimchi to continue on into the new year.

Deliveroo added that 29% of survey respondents say they order takeaway because they are “unable to make their favourite dish at home”, whilst 27% see online ordering as a “vital” way to support their favourite local restaurants throughout the pandemic.

Over 24% admitted they primarily order delivery takeaway to avoid washing up. In addition, the survey also found that the most popular place to find food inspiration for Millennials and Gen X is Facebook, with over 50% of each group citing this. On the other hand, Gen Z has opted to use Instagram with 39% reporting to find inspiration from the app.

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