Callie Showalter, VRG Intern
across the United States and Canada, you can find food trucks selling vegan and
vegetarian food. Whether it’s tacos, falafel, injera, or fried chicken, there’s
a food truck for it. They’re becoming increasingly popular due to their
versatility and accessibility. Because the vegan population of the U.S. is
fairly small compared to the meat-eating population, would-be restaurant owners
are sometimes hesitant to open a fully-fledged all-vegan restaurant. But food
trucks are the perfect solution—they’re more affordable; both for the
restaurant owner, and for the customers.
The very nature of a food truck allows it
to travel—which means you can find food trucks at parks, bars, farmers markets,
concerts, and other special events. These are all public spaces, attended by
people of all lifestyles and diets. Vegan food trucks being located in these
spaces increases the accessibility of veg-friendly food for those who are not
vegan. And it may even prove to many people that vegan food can be cheap and
delicious! Many vegan food trucks also travel to areas that have very little
access to fresh, nutritious foods—such as “food deserts.” The trucks selling
their food in these communities can help increase accessibility to vegan food
for those who would not normally have it.
A popular vegan food truck in my city resides
at a different brewery each day out of the week, all in different parts of town.
With the truck being located in so many different kinds of spaces, it exposes
typical meat-eaters to vegan and vegetarian foods that they wouldn’t have
otherwise tried. The truck— Sage Against the Machine in Bellingham, WA— serves
a wide range of affordable, tasty vegan meals. They offer comfort foods made
vegan, like chili dogs and vegan mac n’ cheese. Offering meat-eaters vegan
versions of these foods that they enjoy is a great way to expose them to vegan
food and prove that it doesn’t have to be expensive or hard-to-find.
Part of the marketing strategies of food
trucks like Sage Against the Machine is to offer merchandise such as shirts or
stickers. People using the merchandise spread the word throughout the city
about vegan food. They also offer punch cards, where you buy ten meals and get
one free. So, even people who aren’t vegan will return to the food truck
continuously so that they’ll get their reward! Food trucks oftentimes display
colorful, artistic exteriors to catch people’s eyes. Having distinct logos and
colors allows food trucks to become easily recognizable, and become established
as well-known eateries in their communities.
Do you have a food truck in your city that
offers vegan or vegetarian food? Tell friends and family about it, or post
positive reviews on social media. Also, contact the truck to let them know about
upcoming local events—including concerts, marathons, farmers markets, or art
shows. That way, the truck can offer its services to the event and they can
serve food there! Or, if you’re planning an event, invite the food truck to
attend! I invited two vegan food trucks in my city to an environmental and art
event I was planning. Tons of meat-eating people got to experience yummy vegan
food that day!
Unlike a traditional restaurant, people may happen upon a food truck by chance rather than purposefully seek it out. This is why food trucks are the future of popularizing the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. While a meat-eater may never choose to get dinner at a sit-down vegan bistro, they may find themselves at a concert where the food truck serves vegetarian food! These trucks work hard to market their food towards all kinds of people—and we should continue to support them in our communities if we have them. If you don’t have a food truck in your area that serves vegan or vegetarian food, try to seek them out while you are traveling!
For information about other places in the USA and Canada to eat vegan when eating out, see https://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php