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Aug 17, 2017

Street food phenomenon

by Mike Benns - Board Director

Street food phenomenon

Back in the spring, I took my family for a long weekend to Copenhagen. Great city with a fantastic vibe but blimey, is it expensive to eat and drink out! We gave up doing the ‘exchange rate maths’ as we decided it would ruin the weekend.

Whilst exploring the city, however, we discovered Paper Island… not strictly an island but more a manufactured dock area with industrial units that used to store paper products. In 2013 the use of these buildings was changed to that of an indoor street food market and what an experience! Not only was it relatively cheap compared to the sit down restaurants, the quality and variety of food available was astounding. Delicious delicacies from all over the world served with a smile in a completely unpretentious, down to earth, ‘let’s just enjoy life’ atmosphere. If you happen to be in Copenhagen, I urge you to make a visit to Paper Island but you’ll have to be quick because unfortunately, it’s going to close permanently next year.

Meanwhile, London Union PLC, owner of venues such as Dinerama, Hawker House and Giant Robot under the Streetfeast brand is taking the concept even further over here in the UK. With a pretty impressive list of backers and supporters, the company is now working on a central London venue which could really put it on the map.

This fashion for street food is something we worked on as an agency a few years ago when working for Discovery Foods (now rebranded as Santa Maria). Historically a Mexcian food brand, the purchase of Discovery by Santa Maria in 2011 led to a change in strategy, focusing primarily on the spices and seasonings found in many street food offerings. Interestingly, several brands have been more overt in their alignment with the street food fashion including one of Santa Maria’s biggest competitors, Old El Paso.

There’s no doubt that consumers are looking for more authentic, not necessarily cheaper but downright tasty alternatives to mass produced processed food and street food certainly meets this demand… parallels can certainly be drawn with the craft beer revolution.

And while there is this demand, no doubt brands will continue to look for ways to piggy-back on the street food phenomenon.

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