22 | May | 14

Richard Johnson

Our Survey Says

I’ve read a lot of statistics in my time – I don’t know what to make of them. I DO know that 87.3% of them are made up. However, this week, I hosted the launch of the most in-depth street food research project (from Santa Maria, a market leading supplier of spices and food concepts throughout Northern Europe) this country has ever seen. Based on 150 face-to-face interviews, it was a proper piece of academic research by Allegra. Industry experts, like Mark Wright from Rola Wala, were there to give trader’s perspective on the facts and figures. And I was there to give them context. The research was rooted in the London street food scene, namely:

Berwick Street Market, Soho – one of the oldest street markets in London. Stalls include Jerusalem Falafel, Moroccan Box, and Freebird Burritos.

Wimbledon Farmers’ Market – a well-established weekend market with 20 traders, selling cooked food-to-go and fresh produce.

Leather Lane, Farringdon – popular with office workers from nearby areas. Stallholders sell pies, Japanese sandwiches, Moroccan and Spanish food, pulled pork baps and burgers.

Broadway Market, Hackney – trendy East London market selling hot food, cakes and coffee. Stalls include Persian food-to-go, burgers and sandwiches.

Pulling apart the report, it’s clear that street food in London (next time they promise they’ll be going beyond the capital) is changing the way we eat. For consumers, it presents a low-risk opportunity to try authentic, unusual flavours and global cuisines. According to the research, these are Britain’s top 10 cuisines:

1 Mexican
2 Chinese
3 Thai
4 Indian
5 British
6 Italian
7 Greek
8 North American
9 Middle Eastern
10 Turkish

Which suggests that people aren’t counting ‘the burger’ as American any more. Which is good. Because it’s not. It’s ours. The research goes on to suggest that the street food bubble isn’t about to burst anytime soon. Far from it. That’s why the Daily Mail are interested in the story. And in the next 12 months, 47% of consumers plan to eat more of it than they do already. All the more people to come and watch the best in the business tear up the rulebook at the British Street Food Awards in September. I think I just might like statistics after all….