Smells good: the rise of the pop-up food industry

Across the food and drinks industry, more events, street food stalls, and festivals are popping up at a faster rate than ever before.

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

LPG suppliers to businesses Flogas, a leading supplier in the gas industry, discuss how the food industry has shifted away from brick and mortar establishments…

What has pop-up food become so popular?

Conducted by Eventbrite involving over 2,000 people, as survey asking those who have attended a pop-up dining experience questions has shed light on the popularity of this phenomenon.

75% of those asked suggested that they would happily pay more money for 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.

When attending a pop-up event, what is popular for those attending? For 84% 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).

Melissa King, 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.”

The rising popularity of street-food

Street-food is also enjoying a golden period, and it’s not just pop-up food events that have experienced success in recent years. UN-FAO statistics claim that street food is now eaten by an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide and had some 2,800 members with over 7,000 units serving food across the UK as of 2015.

Street food is usually popular and inexpensive because it provides a nutritional source that is based on traditional knowledge whilst following the seasonality of farm production.

Guidelines suggested by The Hub claim that new street food start-ups are particularly inexpensive, 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.

As street food vendor himself, Carlie Morse 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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