Food Trucks continue to appear on city street corners and regional fairs and food shows, attracting consumers who have come to admire and enjoy their individuality and originality. Symrise decided to take a close look at some of the most successful and novel food trucks in the company’s ongoing exploration of the latest food and beverage industry trends.
Emmanuel Laroche, Vice President, Marketing & Consumer Insights, Symrise North America, sat down for an interview with Natasha Case, co-founder of Coolhaus™ Architecturally-Inspired Gourmet Ice Cream.
Symrise: What made you choose the Los Angeles, New York and Dallas locations for trucks?
Natasha: The cost of the entry fees were most economical in these areas and they provided access to different neighborhoods and events. The people are very cool in these places and they are also great areas for partnerships. Besides they went hand-in-hand with social media which had really taken off at the time we launched. There were just no gourmet dessert mobile trucks in L.A. at the time that we launched. We were really the first to market our kinds of products there.
S: Do you test the flavors where your trucks are before distributing them?
N: Yes, trucks are amazing for that reason. Trucks can tell you a lot – what’s popular and not popular; what consumers like and don’t like.
S: Are you planning to place more trucks in other regions to test different concepts in different parts of the country?
N: I don’t think that you need trucks everywhere since the more trucks you have, the more time you need to manage them, and different locations won’t necessarily give you more useful information. We can always take a truck from a location and bring it to another – like our NY truck can easily go to Pennsylvania or Boston without needing to add more trucks. Our focus is now on the distribution end of the business.
S: How do you see food trucks and food carts and stands impacting other segments – such as beverage?
N: The food truck needs to be folded into a larger marketing strategy. It’s ideal that your truck is tied to a marketing plan, a product launch, or a restaurant opening. You can get in trouble if you try to run a few trucks with no strategy.
S: Can you comment on the many articles that are written about food trucks being a great source of inspiration, even for the well established in the food and beverage industry.
N: Well, the food truck roll-out is fast and nimble, making it easy to spot trends. Furthermore, sustainability is no challenge for a food truck so it has some real advantages without that concern.
S: Do you think that the food truck phenomenon will continue to grow in the US? Or do you see something else on the horizon?
N: Food trucks are here to stay as long as they employ the strategy I mentioned previously. Look, you see restaurants such as Taco Bell expanding with food truck business. Others are embracing the food truck as well.
S: What do you believe to be the next food truck creation?
N: I think reinventing existing food truck creations with new and better ingredients is the biggest and most interesting next step for food truck owners.
S: Besides your own, what are your favorite food truck, stand or cart concepts?
N: I really like Kimoto, and Border Grill has a great truck – they are my favorites. There’s also Tapas di Riso (?) in Menlo Park and Kriza is excellent.
S: What’s the latest concept that you are working on?
N: We are going to do breakfast-inspired ice cream sandwiches - our take on waffles and more savory-type breakfast foods.
S: Thank you so much for your time. We very much appreciate your story and the knowledge we have gained from your sharing your experience with Symrise.
Stay tuned for more interviews, insigts and trends as a part of our Street Food Interview Series!