September 19, 2018


In the UK, there are thousands of food and drink events — even Eventbrite discovered that food and drink events hosted on its platform have risen annually.

According to Eventbrite — a management and ticketing company — the pop-up dining experience has achieved an 82% rise. So, what’s driving this trend?

The demand for pop-up food

According to a 2,000-person survey by Eventbrite, three-quarters of people who go to pop-up events will gladly pay more for a unique dining experience. Around half of respondents also said that they would be happy to pay more for a meal from the same menu at a pop-up event where chef interaction is involved, as opposed to one served in a regular restaurant.

But are certain aspects of this type of dining more important for people than others? For 84% of survey respondents, a unique menu or theme is the most important feature. This was followed by events held at memorable location (76%) and occasions that promised to be a one-of-a-kind experience (74%).

“There are so many chefs out there — they have their restaurants, their day jobs, but they’re looking for something more. That’s what the pop-up culture offers them. They are able to take over someone’s space for only a few hours and convert it into their own identity. It’s not just about the food, it’s about creating a memorable experience for the guests,” commented chef and creator of Co+Lab the pop-up, Melissa King.

Street food: a worldwide look

The street food sector is also experiencing significant development across the globe. UN-FAO statistics claim that street food is now eaten by an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide and had some 2,800 members with over 7,000 units serving food across the UK as of 2015.

Although not as large as the industry is in other countries, the UK still has a vibrant street food scene. The produce available is usually inexpensive, provides a nutritional source that is based on traditional knowledge and often follows the seasonality of farm production.

All you need to start up is around £5,000, according to The Hub, although there are added expenses to keep the business running, such as gas bottles. A report by the Nationwide Caterers Association acknowledges that a fully equipped market stall is available for around £3,000 and a food truck for an estimated £10,000.

“Street food as a trend is certainly growing, although it’s still not at the same level as in New York. I think it will die off a little as a trend and then become a normal, everyday offer. A lot of office workers go to street food stalls to buy their lunch and eat something healthy, cheap and different. There are so many trends within food, but it works when you consider that people are money conscious and like variety,” said Charlie Morse, a street food vendor pointed out to Produce Business UK.