Around 2.5 billion people worldwide consume street food on a daily basis* and over the past few years the popularity of street food in the UK has grown enormously. This has been fuelled by the often prohibitive rents and rates of high footfall city-centre sites, the increasingly time poor consumer looking for ‘food on the go’ and an ever growing demand for new and exciting world cuisines.

On a practical level, setting up a street food van is often a far more accessible route for start-ups and indeed many have gone on to move into bricks and mortar like Pizza Pilgrims or Daisy Green, while others are happy to remain true to their mobile roots. Some may argue street food concepts have a credibility and authenticity that is sometimes hard to replicate in more formal restaurant format. With street food well and truly on-trend, bringing a plethora of cuisines to the UK consumer, it is little wonder this influential foodie movement has been embraced by the world of contract catering.

One of workplace or ‘Business and Industry’ (B&I) catering’s key challenges is competing with the high street to keep workers on-site with new and exciting lunches on a daily basis – no small task! Street food is an obvious route offering flexibility a level of ‘cool’ which your standard canteen just can’t compete with. Indeed, the influence of the street food revolution can been seen in contract caterer units across the country, such is its impact.

Last Tuesday, H20 Publishing and B&I Catering Magazine launched the inaugural B&I StrEAT Food Awards to recognise some of the leading players in this space. Held at the slightly more edgy Islington Metalworks near Angel station, with a beer in one hand and some tasty street food in the other, the crowd was abuzz with anticipation. With everything from Korean, Mexican, Chinese and Indian to choose from there was no chance of going hungry.

Henry Norman, editor of B&I Catering Magazine hosted the awards which saw Sodexo and Gather and Gather walk away with the coveted trophies. The awards attracted over 70 entries, with 14 different contract caterers reaching the final. Mark Wetherill, executive development chef, corporate services for Sodexo UK & Ireland, was crowned the overall winner, with finalists including representatives from Amadeus, Artizian, bartlett mitchell, BaxterStorey, Blue Apple, Edwards & Blake, Elior, Harbour & Jones, Just Hospitality, Lusso, and Olive Catering and Services.

The evening was a great success as movers and shakers from the contract catering world, along with suppliers and sponsors, networked while enjoying possibly more than their fair share of street food. It was an excellent start to what is sure to become a key date in the contract catering calendar.

For more information on the awards and this year’s winners visit

*Quickbite Magazine 2016

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