|Luckily, it’s not all about overcoming challenges: there are also environmental advantages of running a food truck. A small space means a small kitchen and less energy-intensive equipment. Equipment is unlikely to be left on beyond the time it’s needed, and minimal storage space means water efficiency and saving is of primary importance. The trucks are also typically only in use during peak hours.|
If a truck is able to utilize alternative or renewable fuel sources, the carbon footprint can be greatly reduced. Biodiesel provides a great alternative to fossil fuels for getting around town. Unfortunately, not all cities have reliable suppliers. If a biodiesel facility is available, used oil can be recycled into the truck’s own fuel. Solar power is another option that some trucks are using to harness natural energy for their operations. In the kitchen, wood ovens are appearing on trucks, further decreasing the reliance on generators. SmartKarts, a zero-emissions, plug-in truck, is the method of transport for some U.S. food trucks.
Nevertheless, the environmental inadequacies of food trucks that do exist can potentially be offset by targeting other areas, and food trucks offer a unique opportunity for innovation.
Local and organic food sourcing is an important aspect of any restaurant’s sustainability status. The Naaco Truck embraces hyper local, and the owners have installed a rooftop garden that provides fresh herbs for their flavourful dishes. The Purple Pastry Chef, a baked goods truck in Calgary, doesn’t have a garden on its roof but grows organic fruits and flowers for its treats at a home garden. Cheezy Bizness keeps plastic waste down by not offering straws, and choosing the simplest and 100 per cent recycled wrappers for their grilled sandwiches. All three of the aforementioned mobile eateries have been able to steer clear of plastic utensils by creating menu items that don’t require them. Failing this, compostable utensils made from renewable or recycled materials are a great improvement over plastic.
If a food truck operator keeps the above principles in mind, and searches for ways to be innovative within their own unique business model, sustainability can be added to the menu with confidence.
About the author
Janine Windsor is the founder and President of LEAF (Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice), a national non-profit organization that is dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of the food service industry. LEAF is the only nation-wide food service certification in Canada.