American street food is big news. In the United States, street food has been reinvented and reinterpreted to reflect the changing ways Americans eat. This ongoing street food renaissance will both influence and reinforce consumer eating habits for years to come, according to Street Food: Culinary Trend Mapping Report  from the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts. Expect to see more small plate snacking, more food products sourced and prepared in eco-minded ways and more flavorful global food, all fast, fun and handy.
While street food hasn’t always been beloved by consumers, that attitude is clearly changing. 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,” says CCD CEO Kimberly Egan. “Street foods provide another avenue for consumers to explore new flavor adventures at an accessible value.”
What’s driving new street food?
Three major forces are driving the seven core street food trends CCD identified:
For food marketers and others seeking to capitalize on this trend, accessibility, bold flavors, variety, affordability, sometimes better health and inherent portability are keys to successful trend translation into new strategic business opportunities, states the report.