Well…that didn’t take long. For a while, it seemed like food trucks were able to avoid the harsh criticism of the food nannies. Ordering a hamburger and fries at a fast food joint was frowned upon, but order the same thing at a food truck and you’re among the cool, hipster crowd.
Oh well, it was a nice honeymoon, but food trucks were bound to get their fair share of hassling from the sprouts and granola crowd.
The San Francisco (natch) Bay Citizen reports that food trucks are messing up all those ambitious plans to turn our kids into veggie-burger-and-baked-chip-ordering androids.
On Tuesday afternoon, Edgar Cardenas, 16, stood on the curb outside Novato High School buying his lunch from a food truck that was peddling ice cream, candy, soft drinks and chips.
For $3.50, Edgar, a sophomore, purchased a bag of Hot Cheetos, a can of Coca-Cola and a package of Airheads Xtremes candy.
In the school cafeteria, the menu included a chicken sandwich with roasted potatoes or a veggie burger with garlic fries for $3.25. While there were chips for sale, they were Baked Lay’s.
None of those options appealed to Edgar, who buys his daily lunch from the snack food trucks that park during lunchtime just down the street from the school.
Good for Edgar. I have to say, while I’d more likely go for the chicken and red pepper sandwich, I admire Edgar’s ability to foil the food nannies and find a way to continue his hot Cheetos (which kind of sound fantastic, no?) habit.
The report goes on to say that as Edgar’s school cafeteria has become more restrictive, snack food trucks have moved in hurting the school cafeterias’ bottom line. Last year, lunch sales in middle and high schools in the district were down by 12 percent. The school’s answer? Bring back the fattening food!
This year, chocolate chip cookies are back on the menu in the school cafeteria, in hopes of luring students back.
Huh…bottom line? Luring students back? But I thought this was all about student health–saving kids from a lifetime of obesity and crippling disease. I thought the school lunch program was designed to help underprivileged kids, whose parents can’t afford to provide them a simple home packed meal.
Of course that’s no longer true. But schools have to make a choice. If they’re in it for the profit, then they may have to add some good tasting, nutritionally questionable items back on the menu. If they’re in it for student health, than accept the diminished roles.
And this points to another solution to the lunch debate: why not privatize the school lunch program. Children could be offered a variety of options from which to choose. Prices would be kept low because of competition and quality would be far better…again, because of competition.
Alas, market forces won’t prevail in this debate. The newspaper reports that a letter is already circulating asking the city council to “create an ordinance to prevent access of mobile food-vendor trucks within 1,500 feet” of all district schools. Naturally, the city of San Francisco already has a similar ordinance.
Of course, the kids will have the last word. Asked about the potential “1,500 feet” ban, one student replied “We will just walk over there.”
Well, I guess we can just say they’re getting their exercise. Go kids!