Are you ready to embrace the street-market food trend?

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1542038408447{padding-top: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]I recently had an evening out (which those of you with small children will know is a rare occurrence) with some friends at the Mercato Metropolitano (, an indoor street food market near Elephant & Castle in South London. It’s part of the rapid redevelopment of the area. It as a Thursday evening and the place was buzzing with a mixture of families, friends and office colleagues all enjoying the wealth of food and drink items available. Sitting on shared long tables it was a mixture of the outdoor street food markets and German beer gardens. The food was varied, from pizza, pasta noodles, burgers, fondue, sushi and meatballs – all of it fresh, handmade and from local, passionate producers. The beer wasn’t bad either!

What struck me about it was how food and drink can bring people together like this, and although it was a Thursday night in the city (and yes there was alcohol being served) the atmosphere was built around food and conversation more so than simply drinking to excess. Whilst it’s true, and recent research we’ve done would back this up, that younger people are more likely to value eating out than drinking, there is a growing trend for people, of all ages, to want venues that offer food and drink but also that little bit extra.

And before you start…this isn’t just a London thing!

Wales is to get its first venue of this kind when Sticky Fingers Street Food opens this month. Based in the former Chiquito building in Brewery Quarter, five of Wales’ award-winning street food vendors will be taking up camp every week from Thursdays to Sundays. The family-friendly market will also house a main bar, cocktail bar and wine bar and diners will be able to enjoy their food at seating areas both inside and outside the building.

Scotland already has a vibrant street food scene, with Glasgow’s ‘Big Feed’ the current holder of Scotland’s ‘Best Street Food’ award. They have competition though with the brand-new Dockyard Social opening up in Glasgow towards the end of this year. Both venues, again, are indoor street food markets with a mixture of local producers, music and activities for families.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1542038388531{padding-top: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”5344″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Above: Glasgow’s Big Feed Food Market[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This is the main thing that strikes me about this new scene – it’s inclusive. There’s something for everybody and it creates an atmosphere and a sense of community. It’s a shared space for people to enjoy food and drink and to socialise. There is another trend which I believe this scene is tapping into and that’s choice and personalisation. It’s plain to see that with the rapid increase in food options and the growth of technology that consumers want and expect to be able to have what they want when they want it – and are less inclined to be dictated to by what a food outlet wants you to have. This is another reason why I believe we will continue to see a growth of these street food market style venues – it offers a group of friends or a family the opportunity to go out somewhere, with an atmosphere, and to have a shared experience whilst at the same time having a completely individual food and drink experience too.

How can we apply this trend to small format grocery retail? Well, you just have to look to Ireland and the USA to realise that they’re already doing it. Take a trip round central Dublin for example and the majority of convenience stores will have a deli/FTG counter with hot food options, whilst many will also have a noodle station a sushi area and, more than likely, a salad bar. Whilst, of course, it’s not translating exactly the same concept as an indoor street food market it is offering the consumer an array of choices (all made fresh in store), catering for different tastes and occasions, with seating…so it’s not far off![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1542038396090{padding-top: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”5343″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Above: Centra convenience store, Parnell St, Dublin. 2017 Innovative store of the year (IGD)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Of course, these retailers have been doing it this way for decades and whilst the market is different to the UK, the rise of the indoor street food market would suggest that the time is right for UK convenience to listen to what consumers are asking for and follow the footfall, because these businesses are booming and it won’t be long until a store that only caters for one mission/need starts to be seen as old fashioned. Don’t get thrown out onto the street with the trash, embrace the market food trend and use the building blocks of its principles to deliver choice and personalisation to your customers.

Blake Gladman, Strategy & Insight Director[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Blake Gladman

Hi, I'm Blake, Strategy & Insight Director at KAM. I look after all our research products and manage the collection and delivery of insight throughout KAM. I love long runs and good food (the perfect life balance).