Innovate Blog
Food On-The-Go Trend 2017 – Say Aloha To Poke!

Tuesday January 31, 2017

In a new series of blogs for 2017 we’re bringing food operators the latest trends for the on-the-go food market.  From Acai bowls and Poke, to Bao burgers and rolled ice-cream – we’ll be taking a close look at the must-have dishes essential for any 2017 take-out menu; and we’ll be exploring why these dishes have risen to popularity so quickly.

Forget suppers of heat-and-eat pizza washed down with a glass or two of red wine. In 2017 we’ll be snacking on Hawaiian raw fish salad – says a report conducted by Waitrose. Sushi is being elbowed aside by Polynesian food – notably Hawaiian Poke, a raw fish salad marinated with lime, soy and sesame.

Tapping in to the growing interest in authentic culinary experiences, Poke fits the bill as a classic Hawaiian dish. Traditionally made of cubed Ahi tuna, seaweed, onion, and Hawaiian salt, Poke has arrived with a momentum that seems unstoppable.

Poke, pronounced ‘poh kay’, is basically a bowl of chopped or cubed raw fish (traditionally ahi tuna) over seaweed seasoned rice, the fish tossed in a soy marinade and topped with a selection of fresh ingredients.

Huge in LA and New York, it has now hit British shores, with even Pret getting in on the act, so why is Poke trending now? Young people who grew up with an awareness of sushi are looking for new ways to eat raw fish. Familiar to those who love sushi, Poke is just different enough to be exciting.

Poke also makes a fabulous addition to the fast-casual menu, and reflects the popularity of bowl foods – and the bowl food trend is here to stay. Poke is part of a trend away from fussy fine dining and elaborate plating, toward more casual meals that put a focus on high-quality, seasonal, organic, and local ingredients.

Poke also fits well into the Street Food arena – and as Poke’s popularity intensifies, we can expect more mix-and-match options and creative mash-ups as people become more familiar with the concept.

There is already evidence of multiple possibilities of flavours and textures being served in the marketplace.  The Tombo Poke & Matcha Bar in Soho are serving salmon, tuna, prawn, kimchee, avocado and edamame served over sushi rice, courgette noodles or black and white rice.

Street food stall Eat Poke start with a base, such as black rice, kelp noodles or wakame salad, which they pair with ahi tuna in a tropical coconut sauce, salmon in a shoyu sauce or for the vegetarians, tofu in a spicy ponzu sauce and topped with a choice of anything from macadamia nuts to edamame, mango to avocado.

New to the London scene, Ahi Poke in Fitzrovia is a laidback all-day restaurant where customers can build their own bowl choosing a base of quinoa, sushi rice or red kale, a protein such as ahi tuna, sea bream, salmon, or marinated mushrooms, a sauce and toppings.

Coalesce hybrid packaing

Coalesce hybrid packaging

What food packaging are restaurants and street vendors using to serve Poke on-the-go? Well, just like the Poke itself, there’s an abundance of choice; from bamboo bowls, plastic bowls and deli pots to bagasse containers and paperboard boxes, with and without lids. Innovative packaging options that are ideal for serving Poke include Coalesce hybrid packaging, a one-piece food container with a card base and card lid; or new compostable BePulp bowls with PET lids. Bunzl Catering Supplies deliver all these options and more, with sound advice on which options are best for your individual catering operation.


BePulp bowls

BePulp bowls

Cleverly, food operators are printing their logo or business branding onto the packaging they use, or applying branded labels, to ensure they are promoting their on-trend Poke offer, well after it has left the restaurant or stall. With a dedicated print management department on-hand for all our customers, Bunzl Catering Supplies’ Print Your Logo Here service provides the expertise and support to get your branding out in the marketplace.


However you choose to serve your Poke and whatever fantastic ingredients you use to create it, this dish is poised to explode globally in 2017 – Poke will assume its rightful place as a culinary mainstay, with deep respect for its Hawaiian roots. According to Baum + Whiteman, a food and restaurant consulting company, Poke is not going anywhere anytime soon.


Image credit: Big Daddy’s Poke Shack