How to build the perfect pop-up for food festivals

    The rise of food festivals

    Our values when it comes to shopping are shifting. The purchasing power of experience-led millennials, a collective move towards sustainable spending, and the restrictions of the pandemic led to a trend for buying experiences not products.

    The rise of food festivals in the UK – and indeed worldwide – is reflective of this shift in priorities. These culinary centres transform the simple action of buying a meal into a social occasion where you can immerse yourself in a wealth of new cultures. This ability to unite and uplift people has seen street markets play a part in regenerating struggling high streets.

    These impermanent events are beneficial for businesses as well. This is making food festivals as popular with culinary brands as they are with consumers.

    Food markets take place in locations across the UK, giving companies the chance to broaden their audience and test new products with a variety of places and people. It is also a cost-effective approach as it negates the need for a permanent retail space and makes it easier to budget produce and energy use.

    The challenges of pop-up structures

    While the business benefits cannot be denied, many prefer to stick to traditional retail spaces due to the challenges of pop-up structures.

    Councils no longer need planning permission for outdoor markets, but there is still a requirement to ensure that pop-up structures are suitable and safe. Companies will need to contact a contractor to approve the design and perhaps for assistance with assembly or disassembly.

    Given their small size yet wide range of functions, temporary demountable structures (TDS) come with several safety hazards relevant to both their construction and the use. Companies must conduct full assessments to identify risks to staff and/or the public and then take measures to minimise them.

    This might include using flame-retardant materials around electricals, working within the maximum load, and monitoring structure deterioration.

    In addition, pop-ups are naturally more easily damaged than permanent buildings. This means that you need to take into account the weather when planning events, whether this is keeping your food and customers covered on a rainy day or ensuring a cool interior environment when temperatures soar.

    The best materials for your pop-up

    Wood is one of the best materials for stalls and temporary seating areas. It is easy to shape to your desired design and is relatively lightweight while remaining strong enough to bear heavy loads. It also has the advantage of being re-usable which appeals to the eco-minded nature of pop-ups.

    Engineered options such as plywood sheets and boards are commonly used in construction because they are less likely to become damaged under stress. This makes the likes of plywood ideal for exposed partitions and walls as well as internal beams and floors. Plywood even works well for curved surfaces and is stiff enough to stay stable under impact.

    An alternative material to use for your pop-up structure is a fabric such as tarpaulin. While your inner structure will still require wooden beams or metal poles, a fabric cover provides more flexibility and potentially better insulation. It is also more weather-resistant, making it a more durable option for pop-up structures that are committed to longer stints in each area.

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