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What Foods Did South Africans Order The Most In 2023? 

Most of us are used to waiting 30 minutes or more when we order something on a delivery app, but one Uber Eats user had to wait just 69 seconds for their order in 2023. The order, for a Fanta Orange, was delivered from a restaurant just 16 metres from the customer’s house. 

That’s just one of the insights to emerge from Uber Eats’ 2023 Annual Cravings Report released by Uber Eats. The report provides a snapshot of the most popular, the most unusual, and some of the most unique orders on the platform. The data has revealed some seriously interesting insights into how South Africans ate and ordered in 2023. 

  • One busy restaurant: At one restaurant, delivery people using the Uber  Eats app, made a trip from that restaurant every 11 minutes!. 
  • The friendly cities: While Gqbergha may be nicknamed The Friendly City, Johannesburg and Pretoria lead the way when it comes to friendliness on the Uber Eats app. Customers in the two Gauteng cities used “please” and “thank you” the most in orders, followed by Cape Town and the Garden Route. 
  • Local is lekker: While customers using the Uber Eats app searched for the usual fast food suspects, including pizza, beer, burgers, and sushi, they also demonstrated their love of local foods. Among the most loved South African dishes on the app are pap, malva pudding, chakalaka, bunny chow, gatsbys and boerewors. 
  • Hey big spender: The two largest orders from a single user on the Uber Eats app this year both involved alcohol and were executed on the same day. On 13 October, a customer put in a nearly R14,000 alcohol order. Just 25 minutes later, they put in another order for nearly R19,000 from the same store. That amounts to a total of about R33,000, including tips. 
  • Save while you spend: Perhaps that “big spender” could take one or two lessons from the user using Uber One who saved an average of about R1,100 per month and over R6,000 since becoming an Uber One member. That means they saved more than 22 times the cost of an Uber One membership.  
  • Creatures of habit: According to the report, one user ordered at least once a day for every day of 2023. When it comes to being a creature of habit, however, few can compete with the user who ordered from the same restaurant 348 times in 2023. 
  • Date night (almost) every night: Sometimes couples fall into habits too. One user made 771 orders for two. 
  • Jozi takes Cape Town’s vegan crown: While many South Africans think of Cape Town as the epicentre of vegan eating in South Africa, in 2023 however, Johannesburg overtook it with vegan orders. Users in The City of Gold made 23% more vegan orders than The Mother City. 
  • Going the extra mile(s): The delivery person who took the most trips in 2023 took more than 9 000 trips. For perspective, that’s equivalent to circling the earth more than 2.27 times or driving from Cape Town to Johannesburg and back nearly 33 times. The hours spent on the road, meanwhile, are equivalent to watching Die Hard more than 781 times. 
  • Requests with personality: If you ever wanted an indication of how much personality South Africans have, you could do a lot worse than to look at their Uber Eats requests. One user, for example, ordered a 23 piece tempura platter from a sushi restaurant, six times in a row due to pregnancy cravings. Here are a couple examples of her requests: 

Hello! I’m finally back again hehe. Please may I have the pregnancy friendly version again. No raw fish pieces. Can swap for avo or prawn. No seared tuna/salmon allowed. Thank you so so much. I always appreciate your efforts. 

I’m back!! I’m now 30 weeks pregnant. Baby girl is doing well <3 and craving sushi! Please may I have the usual pregnancy friendly version. No raw pieces of fish. No seared fish (not cooked enough). Can substitute with tempura prawn and avocado. Have an amazing day! Xx” 

Other pregnancy cravings requests included making a burger and fries extra saucy and asking for their chicken patties to be dunked in dunk sauce. 

There was also at least one very homesick user who was desperate for a taste of home:

“hey there… I’ve beeeen looking for shisanyama in Cape Town. I’m glad I found you. please can I have my meat medium, in case it arrives cold I’ll microwave so the cooking will continue. I can’t wait to taste the meat !!!!!! I’m glad you exist .. I miss the taste of home in Pretoria. Thank you and sorry for the long message. I said an extra of spinach because I don’t have an option to not get it. it’s okay if you don’t put it in, thank you. also no Starch. just meat, also that’s if the restaurant allows not to have some options. but it’s okay also if you keep protocol.”

And some people just really want to make sure that the restaurant knows what they want, repeating their request for no sauce or garnish 23 times.

“Our fourth Annual Cravings report not only provides valuable insights into what foods (and drinks) South Africans crave,” says Daniele Joubert, Head of Consumer Growth, Uber Eats Sub-Saharan Africa, “It also demonstrates how big a role Uber Eats plays in the lives of ordinary South Africans. In 2024 and beyond, we aim to address even more of their wants and needs and to do so in new and innovative ways.”