Do you want to run an eco-friendly food truck business that is efficient and profitable? If YES, here are 20 best ways to make your food truck eco-friendly.
When people think of food trucks what usually pops into their mind is food, environmental waste and pollution. They rarely associate food trucks with environmental friendliness because these food businesses dispense a lot of plastics and the trucks that are always on the road give off a lot of toxic emissions.
But contrary to the belief of most people, food trucks can be made to be environmentally sustainable. First off, food trucks do not use as much water or electricity as brick and mortar restaurants use and this in effect counts in their favor. Food trucks are forced by their mode of operation to conserve resources like water, and while they may move around town, most tend to park in locations with good foot traffic and move only once or twice a day.
With the increasing concerns about the environment, it is very pertinent for food trucks to know how to be eco-friendly, so as to continue being relevant and to keep gaining acceptance in their community. Being eco-friendly can also affect the bottom line of a food truck positively.
There are a lot of ways food trucks can become more environmentally sustainable, but we are going to list about 20 of them.
20 Best Ways to Make your Food Truck Eco-Friendly and Profitable
- Reduce energy consumption
The supplies a food truck owner uses in the kitchen will decide the level of energy it can consume. There are appliances that consume energy while there are some that save you power. This is where your concern should be. When picking out your kitchen appliances, endavour to go for the energy savers. Apart from the eco-friendly benefits to using less energy, you’ll also save money.
- Minimize waste
When serving food, it is easy to waste a whole lot of things, both food and utensils. The situation where plastic cups, plates, straws are mostly used in food trucks generate a high level of waste that are injurious to the environment. If you want to build an environmentally sustainable food truck, you have to cut out all those waste, especially those that impact negatively on the environment.
One way to do that is to exchange all your plastics for biodegradables. If your truck has a provision to cater for its customers in the environment, you could consider using real plates and silverware and giving customers the option of ordering their meals and eating them there.
- Seek out alternative means of power or fuel
Food trucks consume lots of fuel, and that is a fact. Some trucks are built to be quite huge and so they require lots of power and fuel to get going. One way to can go sustainable in the area of fuel consumption is to find a cleaner source of fuel.
You now have an option of running on biodiesel. There are also some food trucks that run entirely on electric power. You can equally use solar energy to power your kitchen, and you might even be able to sell the excess electricity back to the utility company.
One other alternative that many food truck owners have today is to recycle cooking oil and turn it into biodiesel. Some trucks even have wood-fired ovens. Fortunately, even if you choose to use a standard generator for electricity, the consumption is generally less than a brick-and-mortar restaurant, so a food truck is already more eco-friendly. this goes to show that there a lot of ways a food truck can seek out alternative means of power.
- Ensure your seafood comes from the right source
It is a fact that a lot of seafood retailers get their supplies from poachers and other sources that do not favour the environment. For your food truck to be sustainable, you have to know if the things you serve come from the approved source. If they can’t tell you where a fish is from and how and when it was caught, you probably don’t want to be serving it.
- Switch to eco-friendly menu
If you claim to be eco-friendly, one place your customers will always use to judge you will be your menu. You have to ensure that you choose healthy, sustainable food options. If possible, make sure that your ingredients are locally sourced and in season.
Source sustainable meat that is grass-fed and use only organic ingredients. High-quality produce, meat, dairy, and even grains and spices have become much easier to find. Try to keep it healthy—and, of course, delicious. A healthy menu with fresh ingredients will always keep your customers coming back, while also benefit your environment.
- Turn to a sustainable meat producer
In general terms, a sustainable meat is meat from an animal that was raised on open pasture without the use of added hormones and antibiotics. Most people are particular about their meat and may likely boycott your food truck if they find out that you use meat that has been fed on hormones.
- Take Styrofoam out of the kitchen
Styrofoam is also as bad as plastic and should be treated as such. You need to take them out of the kitchen and by all means replace them with biodegradable materials. Most people think these materials are expensive, but in reality, they are pocket friendly.
- Upgrade the fuel efficiency of your vehicle
Your truck is one way you spend a lot of money, and they are ways you can save money from it. You can boost the overall fuel-efficiency of your truck as much as 30% by simple vehicle maintenance and attention to your style of driving. Not only will this reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, but could save you hundreds of dollars a year in fuel costs.
- Practice green cleaning
It is also possible to go green when cleaning. Instead of using cleaners that are astringent, non-biodegradable, and are potentially carcinogenic, you can trade them in for kitchen cleaners that are eco-safe, safe on humans and are equally biodegradable. Some of these products may tend to cost you more, but their benefits are usually worth it.
- Have a strict recycle routine
Recycling is of the best ways your food truck can be eco-friendly. You should endeavor to be strict with your laws on recycling. Get your employees to recycle every recyclable. There should be glass and plastic receptacles in and around your food truck. You should equally recycle cardboard and wood boxes used to bring in produce.
- Don’t throw away your fryer oil
While it is easy to recycle glass, wood, paper and plastic, what about the fryer oil that gets disposed of regularly. You should get that recycled as well. There are biofuel companies across the country that will pick it up and convert it into fuel. You can strike a deal with them where they pick up the oil and in turn give you and exchange on reduced biodiesel.
- Reduce shipping material to the minimum
Suppliers have this habit of packing goods in excess wrapper or cartons. These wrappers and cartons then to pile up as waste thus littering the environment. You can request you goods suppliers to use the least amount of packing materials when sending over your goods. You should also tell them not to use Styrofoam packing in your goods.
- Choose eco-friendly vendors
A recent report indicated that 77 percent of American businesses consider a vendor’s commitment to sustainability a “somewhat important” factor when deciding to purchase products or services. To make your food truck eco-friendly, you should choose food vendors and suppliers that have green programs and processes in place. You can look out for such vendors through eco-friendly programs.
- Switch to Biodegradable Plastic Bags
Food trucks deal with a lot of plastic bags, and one way a food truck can become eco-friendly is to use biodegradable bags. Unlike plastic bags, these products break down after they’re thrown away, so they don’t take up room in landfills. Although these bags are made out of biodegradable materials, they have the same strength as regular bags, so there is no fear of them breaking or their handles ripping off mid-stride.
- Switch to Biodegradable Straws
Your straws are another way you can convince your patrons that your business is eco-friendly. You should consider switching from the usual plastic straws to biodegradable straws. Not only are these straws better for the environment than the plastic options, but they’re also affordable to buy in bulk. So, it’s a win-win situation.
- Improve kitchen culture
According to a 2012 white paper by the Natural Resources Defense Council, 4 to 10 percent of food purchased by restaurants becomes kitchen loss (edible and inedible) before reaching the consumer. This number should be headed by food truck owners as well. You should educate and monitor employees in your mobile kitchen area to reduce the food waste that occur from poor cooking and cleaning habits.
- Take advantage of technology
Technology is a big help when companies try to take extra steps to go green. Many businesses are using technology to help them go “paperless,” and food trucks can do the same. Instead of turning to paper advertisement, do most of your marketing online.
This reduces the use of paper, and your overall impact on the planet. Using the internet isn’t limiting anymore; most consumers who are interested in food trucks are also online. Social media is a main source of marketing nowadays, and can be very successful in the food truck industry, so you should take advantage of it.
- Serve local foods
Local foods are more eco-friendly than food purchased from corporate marketplaces for many reasons. Firstly, this is a good way to ensure that the animals were humanely treated, unlike in factory farms. This also reduces transportation costs and effects, because the meat will be travelling a shorter distance.
Specifically, this limits the carbon emissions from big 18-wheelers that are commonly used for commercial transports. Using local foods on your food truck’s menu supports your local community as well. Doing so ensures that your community, and your food truck, are as sustainable as possible.
- Switch to Energy Star Qualified Electric Griddles
Griddles and flattops are important pieces of equipment in food trucks, and environmentally friendly options are an excellent alternative. These products have the same cooking power and functionality as regular griddles, but they run more efficiently and use less electricity. Because Energy Star qualified electric flattops use less energy, they’re eco-friendly and can even help you save money on your utilities.
- Use seasonal produce
Using seasonal produce helps you reduce your energy use. When customers demand farmers to grow fruits and vegetables outside of their normal season, they are forced to use energy to run greenhouses with adequate heat and light.
This wastes energy unnecessarily and increases your carbon footprint. If you choose to always use seasonal produce, then your food truck would immediately be more eco-friendly and your menu will inspire customers to do the same.
Going seasonal is also more economical, because eating fruits and vegetables within their natural season costs less than when they are not in season. Eating seasonal also makes your food truck have more of a variety as the year goes on. Your customers will love this, and it will make you stand out among competitors.
These steps outlined above are not the only steps you can take to ensure that your food truck is environmentally sustainable. If you want to go further, you should make sure that you recycle your water. You can set up an in house filtration system you can use so that you can stay away from bottled water.
You should equally watch the way you produce ice on the whim. Since ice takes water and energy to produce, you should go easy on it. You should also make it a priority to source your products locally so you can help your community.
But in all, you have to train your staff to follow all these practices. Make them know why it is important and why they have to do it even when it is not convenient. You should also get the word out that your food truck is eco-friendly so you can take advantage of the crowd that looks out for eco-friendly eateries.