When it comes to crisps, there are flavours that are enduringly popular in the UK, ones like cheese and onion or simply salted. While supermarkets are experimenting with new crisp combinations for Christmas, these new products are only available for a short period, a common theme that seems to hit innovation in this area.
So fledgling company London Flavours has set out to challenge the crisp category by releasing a range inspired by street food.
“We wanted to inject some excitement back into crisps, with flavours that people were excited to try for the first time. Street food cuisine came to mind straight away as the street food scene in London is booming, with diverse new markets popping up everywhere. It’s a cultural trend now and as our brand revolves around the reflection of London’s cultures and values, it fit perfectly,” Josh Guest, London Flavours’ marketing manager, tells Food Spark.
Flaming meat and Asian
The range comes in three flavours: pho, sticky ribs and teriyaki.
Guest says the brand thought about what flavours are big in London at the moment and noticed that open-flame meat stalls are everywhere.
Kerb and Street Food Union operator Salt Shed also caught the eye of the company with their take on East End salt beef. Using traditional curing methods and carefully sourced meat to produce everything from traditional salt beef bagels covered in English mustard and sweet pickles, to their signature salt beef short rib, which is cured for 10 days, cooked sous-vide and finished on the barbecue with honey and mustard glaze and chimichurri.
Guest says London Flavours partnered with Salt Shed on a special collaboration to inspire the sticky ribs flavour, while the others were influenced by the growing interest in Asian cuisines.
“The Vietnamese cuisine pho is a surprisingly growing trend for millennials. It’s a very delicate flavour that packs a punch, and we hadn’t seen anything like this before in the UK crisp market,” he explains. Teriyaki was another reflection of London’s growing taste for Asian foods that we thought would be great to develop into with crisps.”
The range is also vegan friendly to keep up with current attitudes to foods. “We did this by replicating the taste of the meats using natural flavourings, so it would appeal to all,” he adds.
But the three SKUs are just the beginning, according to Guest, with London Flavours looking to expand the range, including inspiration from South American cuisine. The brand may also branch out into other snack formats too.
From the street to the couch
For Guest, street food is having a heavy-handed influence on products and meals. He says it has become a part of a Londoner lifestyle, with pop-up markets giving people an opportunity to enjoy food in a casual social setting, during lunch breaks or on the go, as well as offering a diverse choice of cuisines.
“We think that the reason it’s having such a big impact on food is millennials are driving the adventurous food category. They want to be able to experience food from all over the world and that’s where street food has the edge in the food industry, as small vendors have the opportunity to be as unique and quirky with their menu as they want,” he comments.
Another big trend that street food taps into is giving consumers the back story on what they are eating, says Guest.
“We are getting more and more interested in where are food comes, is it locally sourced, who it’s made buy and the story of the producer. Being able to have a quick chat at a food vendor gives consumers the chance to do that, making it more appealing than a corporate restaurant,” he says.
It’s for these reasons that Guest thinks that street food crisps will be a hit.
“We hope that our consumers have the same experimental attitude to trying these new flavour crisps as they have with street food. Flavours like pho crisps are going to be something that hopefully gets people talking about trying new cuisine. We want them to link what they see day to day walking past street markets with our range, giving them the opportunity to try these flavours from the comforts of their home,” he says.