Street Food Popularity Unbroken Despite Energy Crisis


Increased labor and raw material costs, coupled with soaring energy prices, have challenged the catering industry this year. The market has seen prices rise by 30-40% and margins fall significantly, but demand for street food remains high, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

However, there was a marked difference in consumption patterns between the eastern and western regions of the country. 

"The increasing sales trend of previous years has stagnated due to higher prices. Despite the difficulties, the event series closed a successful year, with a 10% increase in recent figures," said Zoltán Horváth, president of the Hungarian Street Food Association and chief organizer of the Food Truck Show, which hosted 350 catering events and 16 Food Truck Shows in 2022, with almost 500,000 visitors.

"The food trucks typically source their ingredients from small farms and farmers, whose prices have increased by 100-120%. Employees' wages have also risen by at least 50%, and energy prices have skyrocketed. The drastic increase in cost prices could not be avoided by the caterers, who raised their prices by 30-40% by the end of the season, and the guests' wallets felt the impact," added Horváth.

Hungarians Increasingly Open to Exotic Flavors

According to the press release, burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and slow-cooked BBQ meats, poke bowls and Thai dishes have been big hits among Hungarians this year.

"We have a truck that we are holding to give an opportunity to restaurateurs who are not yet in the food truck market but we see potential in them. This year we gave several Asian restaurants the space to try out what it's like to operate a food truck and fall in love with the genre. They have been so successful that next year two Asian restaurants will have their own trucks at the event," said the organizer, adding that in the future they would like to offer more exotic dishes and also focus on Thai, Indian and Polynesian cuisine. 

A Greener Food Truck Show

In the future, the event will be even greener, and in the spirit of environmental protection and energy saving, organizers want to provide the trucks with uninterruptible power supplies so that they do not consume electricity at night. They plan to install solar panels on the roof of each truck so that they can collect enough energy during the day to run the coolers at night without consuming extra electricity.

"The main organizer is very optimistic about next year. Next year, the program will be renewed and we will offer an even more colorful event: a central music bus, a playground, digital screens, and a hot air balloon will be a permanent feature," Horváth noted. 

He also revealed that despite the current situation, they are expecting a very strong end to the year, noting that Food Truck operators are expecting increased operating costs, but also significantly lower overheads than other caterers.

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