Street Food Renaissance

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ROCKVILLE, Md.—In the last two years, American street food has been reinvented and reinterpreted to reflect the changing ways Americans eat. According to “Street Food: Culinary Trend Mapping Report” from the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts, this food renaissance will bring more small plate snacking, more food products sourced and prepared in eco-minded ways, and flavorful global food, all fast, fun and handy.

Enticed by the convenience and affordability of street food, along with its often gourmet flavors and forms, consumers are flocking to their local lunch stands for fast but satisfying meals, as well as enjoying new low-cost global street food-inspired restaurants.

“Street food is changing the conversation around food by creating new, vibrant and diverse communities socially connected by a shared interest in a new way of eating. At various turns it is highbrow meets lowbrow, local and eco-friendly, socially conscious and globally diverse,” said CCD CEO Kimberly Egan. “Street foods provide another avenue for consumers to explore new flavor adventures at an accessible value.”

The report highlights three major forces are driving the seven core street food trends:

Going Gourmet: While fine-dining chefs are serving upgraded street food in restaurants or creating their own carts and trucks, new foodie entrepreneurs are making specialized, high-quality cuisine available on the go. Hot dogs are also getting a boost from better quality meat and a more diverse assortment of toppings, many with global roots.

Globalization: Street food is a global staple and today we are welcoming new versions stateside. Roman Porchetta, or stuffed and pork belly-wrapped pork roast, has become the hot choice for sandwiches and entrées at small cafés, independent restaurants and farmers markets. Indian Wraps and Chaat (portable snacks) are showing up in independent fast casual eateries nationwide, fusing Indian flavors and familiar handheld forms to...
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