We are what we eat. To some, it may be a lifestyle choice. But for others, eating the wrong food can be a matter of life and death.
In America, more than 15 million people have food allergies. Research show that 1 out of 133 people worldwide could have some form of gluten-related disorder, which include celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy. That is a significant rise from 1 in 2500 a decade ago. With the rising number of people claiming to have gluten related illnesses, gluten-free food and products became a hot topic in mainstream media with some not taking it seriously. But sensitivity or allergy to gluten, just like any other health concern, is a serious matter that mobile food vendors should consider when it comes to the products served to customers.
Offering a gluten-free option in your food truck menu to cater for consumer with such preference can be easy to implement. Though it will require additional time and effort, the advantages may be worth the investment. A gradual addition of new gluten-free items like bread-less sandwiches (deconstructed tacos or burrito bowls) is a great step in catering to a new brand of customers. Substituting or eliminating ingredients containing gluten (wheat, rye, barley, among others) to create gluten-free variants of existing menu options is a viable strategy that will not have a drastic effect to your food truck’s prep work.
People with gluten sensitivity can experience “brain fog,” depression, ADHD-like behavior, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, bone or joint pain, and chronic fatigue, among others. Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where gluten ingestion leads to damage in the small intestine, has much severe consequences. By considering the addition of gluten-free menu options, food trucks can provide not just delicious but also safe and inclusive food to all their customers.
Food preferences can also be a matter of lifestyle and principle, in addition to matters of health. Vegans are those who adhere to a strict plant-based diet, with no animal products (not even dairy or eggs) whatsoever. According to the 2013 Public Policy Polling Survey, among the 500 participants, 7% identified themselves as vegans.
Despite being a food minority when it comes to food demography, vegans and vegetarians have a significant voice when it comes to issue concerning health and consumption in developed countries. Food trucks catering to this consumer demography get significant advantages as vegetarian food are not just bought by strict dieters but also by meat-lovers who are interested in healthier choices. Providing even just one high quality and delicious vegan friendly entree can become significant for food trucks that want to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Success in the mobile food business do not just depend on the best tasting menus or most popular locations. Taking care of customers, whether satisfying their cravings or looking after their health, is what counts the most at the core of every fulfilled entrepreneur.