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Healthy Mobile Vending Policies

Regulations to promote healthy eating

Fact Sheet
Food & Beverages

Mobile vending is loosely defined as selling food out of any portable vehicle, including trucks, carts, trailers, roadside kiosks, and stands.

Mobile vendors are common in almost every community, whether as taco trucks in Los Angeles, hot dog carts in New York City, fruit stands on rural roadsides, or ice cream trucks on neighborhood streets.

In underserved neighborhoods unlikely to attract a large grocery store, mobile vending is one way to increase access to healthy foods. Unlike supermarkets, mobile vending businesses can travel deep into areas where zoning laws may bar larger retail food establishments. Mobile vendors can also adjust their inventory quickly to fit the unique cultural demands of the community.

But a major problem for nutrition advocates is that often these vendors sell food that is unhealthy, even if it is affordable. The nutritional profile of the food is not a top priority for mobile vendors, who may be more focused on overcoming obstacles to operating their businesses.

This fact sheet shows how mobile vending regulations can promote healthy eating in communities that need it the most.