Street food is going strong
Find innovative products by studying street food trends
Part of our job at AGRANA Fruit is tracking and analyzing the food trends shaping our world. Recent findings show that there are new opportunities arising from centuries old traditions: street food.
The rise in street food popularity in the past few years is undeniable.
Younger generations are ditching traditional restaurants for food trucks and street vendors, and these new food sources incorporate social media into their promotional strategies – capitalizing on the power of word-of-mouth marketing. For example, today you can find more than 2 million posts with the hashtag #foodtruck on Instagram alone (Source; https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/foodtruck/?hl=en).
The street food ecosystem offers “retraceable, personalized social food” made by a local vendor right in front of you. The perception of food trucks has transitioned from grubby, greasy fast food peddlers to authentic, flavorful and creative restaurant alternatives. The “fancy without being posh” appeal attracts millennials, who are known to favor authenticity, local and custom-made options. Street food festivals are booming around the world and have been embraced by local tourism agencies as they attract a new visitor demographic - those same millennials. Researchers have found that 88% of US millennials surveyed are interested in trying new types of food (Source: http://skiftx.com/insight/free-report-the-rise-of-food-tourism/).
As people continue to embrace traveling abroad we are noticing that culinary adventures are becoming increasingly attractive. Keeping this in mind it’s worth noting that when the travellers return home they want to recreate the authentic foods they enjoyed during their trip.
Street food inspired flavors lend a feeling of authenticity and artisanal handiwork and appeal to foodies looking for new experiences.
Power to Plants
Street food is authentic, versatile, gutsy and provides inspiration for what’s next. One of those trends is the rise of plant-based alternatives and ethnic flavor cuisine. Millennials prefer a natural, simple diet which will further drive the rise of plant-based products. The use of vegetables, spices and herbs and their flavoring has been steadily increasing among cooks and consumers alike.
In 2016, 29% of German and 34% of Polish consumers stated that they deliberately chose food and drink flavored with spices and herbs (Source: Mintel Global Food and Drink Trends 2017). There is even more inspiration to be discovered from global cuisines. Turmeric and ginger is widely used in Indian cuisine – we see its influence in brands all over the world.
Indian and Thai street food are well established in their respective countries and we are seeing other regions of the world borrow from their expertise. This will turn out to be especially interesting in the area of dairy products. Influences from African cuisine, driven by the use of African superfoods and supergrains, are likely to further deliver additional inspiration. Original flavor combinations for baked goods in combination with various fruit fillings will be particularly exciting as well.
All of this explains why so many product developers (including our NPD colleagues at AGRANA Fruit) have kept a close eye on trending street food dishes making the rounds on social media. Staying on top of food trends and being an early adopter in developing them for mass markets is vital in keeping up with consumer needs.
From ethnic dishes to haute cuisine to the shelves
Many chefs and restaurant owners have noticed that watching street food vendors is like getting results from a focus group. Food trucks are flexible enough to try new recipes and flavors and adapt to consumer needs very quickly.
Many famous chefs started with a gourmet food truck, like Roy Choi and his Korean Taco truck Kogi BBQ in Los Angeles. Asian flavor inspired pulled pork tacos and other fusion recipes are as famous as his short rib tacos. Several years ago, while food shopping for one of his restaurants, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck noticed that farmers markets were making huge additional profit by offering soups, sandwiches, fresh salads and grilled food “to go”. Using his famous name, he developed his own line of grab & go products for Gelson’s (a US grocery chain), including his street food inspired rosemary rotisserie chicken.
David Chang, legendary founder of the Momofuku restaurant group, derived enormous inspiration from street food when he developed the menus for his restaurants, many of which are ramen based. Ramen dishes have moved on as well, from street food and hipster restaurants to the grocery shelves and the grab & go segment.
Over the years
Over the years many - slightly modified - street food favourites have been hitting the shelves of supermarkets and grocery stores. For example pulled pork is now widely available in various flavors like "Asian inspired" or with Indian spices.
Find some of the growing street food trends here
Keeping up with street food trends can be overwhelming. Nearly every week, a new social media food star rises above the others. AGRANA Fruit can help identify the mass-relevant stars among the fads. From flavor trends to creating new products that capture the appeal of street food dishes, our team of experts around the world can help you find your new hero product. Here are some of the latest trends we have noticed around the world.
A huge consumer favorite is Agua Fresca, a refreshing non-alcoholic mix of fruit, flowers (current top seller: hibiscus), cereals or seeds blended with sugar and water.
Hot & Spicy
Nearly every food truck takes pride in offering a home-made sauce or salsa. Individual chimichurri or hot sauce recipes are all over social media - the crazier, the better. Limited edition sauces and condiments are booming and some sell faster than their creators are able to churn them out.
The renaissance of this Scottish dish is undeniable. It is very versatile and can be combined with fruit and vegetables as well as various spices and herbs. Creating new and exciting porridge combinations are concepts that our AGRANA Fruit experts can help you with.
In the US and the UK, hummus has already transitioned from a niche specialty food into a mainstream snack. Hummus will continue to make huge gains on the US and European markets, especially in the vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free segments.
Middle Eastern Desserts
Middle-eastern food has wide appeal. Recipes from Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Jordan etc. are becoming more and more popular. Sweet and savory skewer dishes are a big hit, but even more popular are the various desserts emerging from those regions.
Opportunities for you:
- Creating street food inspired products will attract more millennial consumers.
- New flavor combinations can be used to elevate existing products or product ranges and also create “limited editions”.
- Consumers are more and more adventurous and are looking for something different and exciting to try.
- The plant-based product segment is one of the biggest opportunities and offers a wide flavor spectrum to play with.
- Street food is an opportunity for NPD to push boundaries with entirely new concepts and product categories.
AGRANA Fruit can help your company find its new street food inspired hero product designed to meet the needs of millennials and other target groups. Together we can develop products that support a wide-range of needs - innovative bold and spicy profiles, indulgent desserts, and savory products like spreads, dips or sauces. Our team also has a very successful and creative track record in creating “Limited Edition” lines and premium seasonal products.
Let’s create your street food inspired product together!