by Cally Ip

How to Compete with the Street in your school canteens

How to Compete with the Street in your school canteens
High street food chains are really having their moment in the spotlight right now as consumers are drawn in by their convenience and delicious flavours. Street food in particular is continuing its strong growth trajectory, attracting young customers interested in trying foods from around the world and diversifying their taste pallets.

The reason why high street venues have become so popular with young customers can be attributed to those seeking small treats that are different from the norm, providing food vendors the opportunity to steal consumers’ hearts with food they wouldn’t otherwise experience during their day-to-day.

In particular, indulgent and comforting foods like pizza are seeing a rise in popularity with pizza becoming the most ordered takeaway dish in 2022*as well as a rise in interest in Asian foods like ramen and rice bowls as they provide a warming hearty bowl of deliciousness.

Students are spending their after school hours and weekends experiencing exciting new foods from the streets and developing a taste for flavours from around the world. These foods and flavours are becoming the foods they crave and what they expect to see on menus, including school menus. It’s time to compete with the street and increase interest in school meals to encourage meal uptake with your version of your students’ high street favourites.

If you’re wondering how you can compete with the street we have just the thing… our two Compete with the Street inspiration guides! We’ve worked with our expert chefs in school catering Wayne Wright and Adam Denny to serve to you delicious school compliant recipes that rival the big dogs of the high street.

Bringing the high street to your school canteen is easy. High street venues offer 4 main things at their core: bold flavours, grab and go convenience, world cuisines, and comfort food. Here’s how you can bring each of these elements into your school canteen:


compete with the street in school canteens dishes


Bold flavours

Bold flavours are key to any street food dish, whether it be sweet and smoky, or spicy and tangy. The secret is to combine well-loved flavours and really give them that starring role in your dish to give it that ‘wow factor’. Of course when looking at bold flavours, we need not look further than Africa for inspiration; piri piri has been delighting taste buds for decades. Check out our African piri piri pizza packed full of flavour to get taste buds tingling.

If piri piri isn’t your cup of tea why not try out our chicken katsu recipe from our new Asian Fusion recipe guide which offers just as much of an impact

Top tip! Easily sneak in vegetables to add more nutrients to your dish – the bold flavours will make any vegetable taste delicious!


Grab n’ go convenience

At the core of street food is its convenience. If you’re truly looking to compete with the street you’ll need to master the art of grab n’ go. Students really value their free time and they’re less likely to opt for school meals if it means they’re restricted to the school canteen.

How about offering them a grab n’ go option for their break times or lunch times?

We’d recommend a cult favourite: Asian classic gyozas or the ever-popular garlic dough balls which are both great on the go options for busy students. Now your students are free to eat and hang with their friends freely.


World cuisines

What is street food without global influence? Whilst the high street offers up food from all around the world, we’re seeing strong popularity for Asian cuisines including curry dishes, rice dishes, and noodles dishes.
Luckily for you our chefs have cooked up some school compliant recipes inspired by high street classics such as Quorn raisukaree and chicken donburi which we know your students will love.

These dishes provide a taste of the world, helping students expand the variety of their foods and encourage them to become more adventurous with their meal choices.


Comfort food

Don’t underestimate the power of comfort food! One of the most popular aspects of street food is the ability to access comfort food but in an elevated way that you may not be able to cook from home. There’s two ways to go about this, go for familiar comfort foods like pizzas, or go for the warming soupy comfort of foods like chicken ramen, a popular comfort dish from Japan.

How about elevating familiar comfort foods like pizza with a delicious tomato sauce with hidden protein or trying something slightly different like using a white sauce base.

Either way, we have plenty of recipes to help you to easily create comfort food in your school kitchens.

Now you’re set to compete with the street! I’m not sure about you, but talk of all of these delicious dishes has got my tummy rumbling so I’m off to re-create some of these recipes.

Happy cooking!


Check out our Asian Fusions guide here.

Explore our Pizza & Sides guide here.

For more schools recipe support click here.


Be sure to check out our previous blogs on supporting your schools too!

* Foodhub Research, UK July 2022

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