pop-up food stall

The rise of the pop-up food industry

More events are being hosted across the food and beverage industry than ever before, with Eventbrite finding that the number of food and drink events hosted on its platform is increasing each year.

After analysing over 40,000 of these events, Eventbrite also found that the pop-up dining experience was the fastest growing trend — recording 82 per cent growth.

Here, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of 5kg patio gas, Flogas, discuss how the food industry has shifted away from brick and mortar establishments…

Why pop-up food has become so popular

A survey by Eventbrite involving over 2,000 people who have attended a pop-up dining experience has shed light on why the events have proven so attractive to the public.

75 per cent of pop-up event attendees are of the belief that it’s worth paying more money in order to witness a unique dining experience. Around half of respondents also said that they would be happy to pay more for a meal from the exact same menu at a pop-up event where chef interaction is involved as opposed to one served in a regular restaurant.

So, what is important to those attending a pop-up event? For 84 per cent of survey respondents, it was a unique menu or theme. This was followed by events held at memorable location (76 per cent) and occasions that promised to be a one-of-a-kind experience (74 per cent).

Chef Melissa King, the creator of Co+Lab the pop-up, believes that creating a unique event works both ways in terms of the pop-up food industry. She explained: “There are so many chefs out there — they have their restaurants, their day jobs, but they’re looking for something more. That’s what the pop-up culture offers them. They are able to take over someone’s space for only a few hours and convert it into their own identity. It’s not just about the food, it’s about creating a memorable experience for the guests.”

A look at the increasing popularity of street food

It is not just pop-up food events that have witnessed a significant rise in popularity — street food is enjoying a golden period at the moment too. UN-FAO statistics claim that street food is now eaten by an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide and StreetFood.org.uk had some 2,800 members with over 7,000 units serving food across the UK as of 2015.

A fledgling artisan industry in the UK, street food has proven popular as the produce available is usually inexpensive, provides a nutritional source that is based on traditional knowledge and often follows the seasonality of farm production.

Getting set up doesn’t need to be costly either, with general guidelines suggested by The Hub detailing that a small second hand catering trailer or market stall could be acquired for under £5,000. A report by the Nationwide Caterers Association acknowledges that a fully equipped market stall can be bought for around £3,000 and a food truck for an estimated £10,000. Street vendors also don’t need to pay out for things like cutlery, glassware or furniture. A few simple eating utensils such as this fork and other essentials can be bought online for relatively cheap.

Charlie Morse is a street food vendor himself and was keen to point out to Produce Business UK: “Street food as a trend is certainly growing, although it’s still not at the same level as in New York. I think it will die off a little as a trend and then become a normal, everyday offer. A lot of office workers go to street food stalls to buy their lunch and eat something healthy, cheap and different. There are so many trends within food but it works when you consider that people are money conscious and like variety.”




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How To: Starting a Street Food Business

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