Who We Are
The Philadelphia Healthy Food Truck Initiative (HFTI) is a partnership with Philadelphia food trucks to promote healthier meals to customers. This project was proposed to Campus Health Initiatives in February 2013, and it officially started in March 2013 as a project under the Eat Well umbrella of initiatives. We now partner with Penn Campus Health, The Food Trust, and four food trucks in Philadelphia.
Why We Care
Food trucks are a popular and accessible dinging option for many individuals at Penn and in Philadelphia due to their high prevalence and low cost. According to our bi-annual survey conducted in 2013, perceptions of food trucks’ overall healthfulness is poor compared to other attributes. This concern is validated as many food trucks do not provide nutritious offerings. As a result, there is a disconnect between individuals that want healthy options and food trucks that provide healthy options. By focusing our efforts on these businesses, Healthy Food Truck Initiative is able to improve the eating environment through increasing awareness and improving the quality of public health in Philadelphia.
What We Do
Our mission is to transform food trucks into places where the health of customers is valued by providing nutritional counseling, promoting nutritious offerings, certifying healthy food trucks, and facilitating connections to our network of public health/business experts and successful food truck owners.
What We Desire
We want to see a vibrant food truck scene that expands from our roots in Philadelphia’s University City to cities across the nation. These food trucks would foster healthy eating habits by encouraging better decision making and healthier default options.
Summer 2013 Survey Results
We conducted additional market research to build on our survey results from the Summer of 2012. Here are a few highlights:
- 70% of respondents eat at least one meal per week at a food truck
- On a scale from -3 to +3, healthfulness was rated the lowest of six characteristics (price, taste, location, convenience, dietary options, healthfulness) with a rating of -0.45. Price, taste, location, and convenience were all rated approximately +1.5 or higher.
- Three quarters of respondents would view a food truck more positively that posted nutritional information.
- The top three suggestions (excluding no comment or irrelevant comments) for a healthier food truck eating environment were 1) healthier meals/options/substitutes 2) nutrition information 3) cleanliness.
- The top three reasons for going to food trucks less than twice a week were 1) don’t carry cash 2) meal plan 3) food trucks seem unhealthy.