Interest in street food is gaining momentum as more businesses explore ways of bringing it to retail.
Marks & Spencer has held discussions with seafood business Café Môr, which took top prize in street food awards sponsored by the retailer last year. Café Môr founder Jonathan Williams, who is selling his street food from a shack in the Olympic Village, said interest in the trend was growing among retailers.
“It’s about trying to work out how the concept can be adapted for the retail environment,” he said. “It could be about using dishes or fresh ingredients in store that people can pick up, or perhaps incorporating a bit of the theatre of street food.”
Retailers were keen on the approach being taken by British producers at farmers markets, Williams added, but the challenge was making this work on a larger scale.
Unilever has already tapped into the trend with the launch of two Season & Shake bake-in-bag chicken nugget seasoning mixes inspired by street food under its Colman’s brand.
Since they were launched in March, the value of the Season & Shake range has increased from £11m to more than £13m.
The street vending trend could help revolutionise the ‘hot’ takeaway food zone in supermarkets, said Claire Nuttall, senior partner at brand consultancy 1HQ.
“Hot delis in stores are behind the times and uninspiring, the new street vending concept could pave the way for a fun foodie heaven,” she added.
And the chilled food sector could be shaken up by pre-packaged, freshly prepared products sold at front of store, Nuttall added.
“At the last minute, you could pick up your locally made fresh evening meal before heading off to cook it,” she said.