By MATTHEW CAWOOD | FarmOnline.com.au
Food trucks are proving an ideal outlet for farms who don’t want to send their products through conventional supply chains.
Small quantities of seasonal produce are a disadvantage in traditional supply chains, but that flips to being an advantage for the supplier of gourmet food trucks.
“Food trucks are most certainly creating a new conduit for farm produce,” said Kevin Higar of the US situation.
“One of the huge draws and business models for many of these food truck operators is they offer a dynamic daily menu that is really based on what the food truck operators find available at the local farmers markets, where they shop several times a week, or with specific farmers.”
A growing number of food trucks are operated as a shopfront for individual farms, which shandy their own produce with other ingredients to make a well-rounded menu.
Adelaide food truck startup Burger Theory is still working on the logistics of local food, but it uses mince from Richard Gunner’s Coorong Angus Beef program, and has just contracted a grower to produce Russet Burbank potatoes for its chips.
The Coorong Angus deal cuts several ways. Mr Gunner gets an outlet for his less valuable meat; Burger Theory gets meat from well-marbled grass-fed cattle, giving their customers a more satisfying taste than the lean, low-grade mince used in an everyday burger.
As Burger Theory’s Dan Mendelson puts it, for an $8-$10 investment in a Burger Theory burger, their customers are getting some of the same taste experience that restaurant customers enjoy when they sit down to a much more expensive Coorong Angus steak.
Mr Mendelson scoured South Australia for Russet Burbank potatoes, without luck, and although he found some in Victoria, they were all contracted to big customers.
He eventually found a potato enthusiast who is as keen to see his potatoes appreciated as Burger Theory is to make top-notch chips.
They also use free-range eggs from Kangaroo Island, and Paris Creek butter.
Burger Theory’s runaway success has given Mr Mendelson cause for concern, though. If the food truck phenomenon proves as big here as it has in the US, he is worried that as has happened in the US, high-quality ingredients will end up being either in short supply, or priced out of the reach of the burger market.