Street food sellers bite into catering market

A new report has predicted that the UK’s growing street food culture is set to gain further influence in the catering sector.

While not traditionally a huge market for catering equipment suppliers, the expansion of the sector is proving difficult to ignore, especially in cities such as London.

The Street Food Report 2014, commissioned by ingredients firm Santa Maria and undertaken by Allegra Strategies, notes that today’s top street food vendors could be tomorrow’s multimillion pound casual dining restaurants.

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Brands such as Homeslice, MeatLiquor, Pizza Pilgrims and Wahaca were all established after success with a van or stall.

The cycle of operators starting small, becoming popular and then expanding into pop-up or permanent sites, and eventually multiple sites, is likely to continue in the coming years, according to the report.

And that will be good news for catering equipment companies aligned with brands that make this transition.

Allegra’s research shows that 47% of people intend to consume more street food in the next 12 months than they do already, underscoring the popularity of the sector.

Currently the top five most popular kinds of street food are Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Indian and British.

More than 80% of respondents to the research admit they choose street food for lunch and most believe that the quality of dishes are comparable to that of a restaurant. As a result of this, 64% are happy to spend upwards of £5 per person.

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