Our latest menuwatching report is out - this month taking a look at the changing face of street food in terms of reaching the customer and key menu trends. To give you a flavour of what the report covers and its findings, we've outlined three key take-outs below.
To The Consumer
Street food has long been known for creativity and flexibility in terms of location. As consumer behaviour rapidly changes with working from home looking set for the long term, chefs are reaching the consumer in creative ways. Hoy Pinoy Filipino street food has set up in Gelato Messina's car park in Australia, while in the UK Selfridges has begun a chef rotation scheme with a street food pop-up showcasing heritage cooking. As high street names announce plans to move to the suburbs, the opportunity for the breakfast and lunchtime occasion is huge.
With more consumers looking to adapt to a plant-based lifestyle for some or most of the time, there is extended choice. Whether it's comfort food such as a loaded vegan philly cheesesteak sandwich or a pumpkin taco roasted in salsa macha oil, flavour creativity and choice is at an all time high, often with veg as the hero.
Street food has always taken us on a sensory flavour adventure whether that's through the theatre of fire cooking or authentic global tastes. Mexican continues to trend in a big way with Birria's coming to the fore. We're also seeing more regional dishes and exploration of different countries as Filipino and Greek also make waves.
Charles Banks, tfp co-founder on the state of Street Food
In 2019/20 street food and food hall dining was moving to a point of ubiquity, however when the pandemic hit, a world of social distancing and hospitality enforced closures challenged the very existence and relevance of street food. Whilst many had been innovative with the ways that they've kept their brands alive through delivery and meal kits, many have also been devastated by the effects of COVID-19. However, as hospitality opens up for indoor dining in the UK, part of the taste of freedom comes from seeing and experiencing food trading on our streets once again.
One impact of the pandemic is that UK highstreets are full of empty retail sites which could provide an opportunity for developers and street food traders alike, with 'bricks and mortar' becoming a more viable option. Diners have a newfound appreciation of local community and therefore independent traders and supply chains - street food is where locally sourced meets globally inspired.
Street food has been at the forefront of expanding our repertoire of cuisine influence in an informal and accessible way. Global flavour fusion continues to be a significant influence in the street food scene but so too is Cajun & Creole cooking, Caribbean cuisine, Filipino & Greek as well as Mexican in the form of Birria.
As we move into a new era in hospitality, street food looks set to continue to be at the forefront change in food and drink – challenging occasions such as breakfast, re-defining comfort foods, next level plant-based, a heightened sophistication in cooking techniques, technology adoption in order and collection, as well as championing a continual evolution of cuisine interpretation.
Buckle up, all eyes on the street food scene!
Trendhub subscribers can access the full report here, while non-subscribers can find out how to join the tfp Trendhub via the links below.