The Street Food phenomenon shows no sign of slowing and is predicted to remain the number one food service trend, according to a survey by the British Hospitality Association.

Food service companies named healthy eating as the second biggest trend in their industry – though they were divided between technological innovations, and customer facing products as the next biggest trend.

The annual survey pointed to the influence of Millennials, who are creating a change in eating habits at more flexible eating times, greater use of technology.

BHA members predicted flexible service times and a cafe culture will increase with the traditional ‘lunch hour’ becoming a thing of the past as consumers graze throughout the day.

Companies are expecting more demand for ‘have it your way’ meals tailored to the customer’s liking, with some companies even anticipating more customers requesting ingredients to make recipes at home.

Healthy choices remains important with increased government policies related to obesity and sugar expected to influence customer demand for lower sugar levels in products and more sugar free alternatives.

There is already an emphasis on allergens and intolerances and now there is also an increasing desire for co-called superfoods, raw foods and foods tailored to particular diets.

More meat-free eating is also a strong and consistent theme, with food service companies gradually reducing the amount of meat on offer to accommodate consumer preferences and reduce their environmental impact.

The greater use of technology is an unstoppable trend that will not only cover apps and contactless payment but will increasingly encompass the provision of information and data to customers to inform their choices.

Business were bullish about future prospects with one third expecting to see turnover grow by at least 20%.

But there was little confidence in the government however, with just 23% of respondents confident the government will support the hospitality industry, with 20% unconfident and 47% neutral.

Economic conditions, immigration policies restricting access to the EU labour market and the impact of the National Living Wage are seen as the main risks to successful performance next year.

All of the businesses think that the government should review and consult with businesses on the National Living Wage and three quarters of them believe that a reduction in Tourism VAT would help their business success. Half of respondents believed that reducing red tape in general and increasing apprenticeships would help.

The survey, conducted annually since 1990, was completed by businesses covering over 40% of the UK catering market. The food service management sector directly employs over 902,000 people across the UK, accounting for 31% of the hospitality workforce. The hospitality industry generates 2.9 million jobs and is the UK’s fourth largest employer.

Ufi Ibrahim, the chief executive of the British Hospitality Association said: “If the number of EU migrants is severely restricted due to Brexit this could jeopardise the modern, leisure society that the UK enjoys. Even if they’re allowed to stay, tens of thousands will be needed every year to continue the growth that’s seen the number of hospitality workers in-crease by 20 per cent in five years.

“We believe that constantly striving for improved standards can only be good for the reputation of the industry as whole. It’s in everyone’s interest that we try to keep raising our game.”

Andrew Selley, Chief Executive, Bidvest Foodservice said: “We’ve certainly seen a similar pattern in food service trends over the last couple of years, and predict street food and healthy options will continue to be dominant. For us however, these trends are inextricably linked to both wider consumer and cuisine trends.

“The types of street food formats and the way people are viewing and managing healthy options are every changing. Sugar is certainly high on everyone’s agenda, but so is protein, free form and so called ‘performance foods’ - it isn’t just enough for food to fill you up nowadays.”

Phil Hooper, Chairman of the BHA FSM Forum said: “The findings of the 2016 FSM survey affirm our sector’s continued success - as employers, and in terms of commercial, environmental and community-focused activities. The industry continues to lead in the area of responsible hospitality, in particular in promoting the health and wellbeing of customers.

“FSM Businesses have shown continued growth for the last three years and ensuring a workforce supply which facilitates this growth is crucial. Such an important industry needs and deserves the support of Government in both economic and policy terms.”