Vancouver May Impose Nutritional Requirements on Street Vendors

Vancouver's Roaming Dragon Truck

Vancouver's Roaming Dragon Truck

By J. Wagler |

Vancouver is looking to become the first city in Canada to implement minimum nutritional standards for new street food vendors. A new City of Vancouver staff report is recommending that city council restrict approving new street vendors to operations which meet “minimum nutritional standards as defined by provincial health professionals.”

“I think it’s good,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “There is a trend for people who generally want a little more nutrition in their meals, so I think that’s in line with public trends.”

Totenson noted vendors are being given enough warning to incorporate the nutitional requirements into their menus.

“As these street vendors apply for licensing, at least they’re going into this with a heads up,” he said “At least they can move forward knowing that there’s an expectation on nutrition.”

He also noted that the new requirements aren’t too restrictive.

“They’re not looking for just salad bars here either,” he said. “I think they’re saying, ‘provide a balance, so that there’s an option for consumers to have nutrition if they so elect to.’”

The staff report notes the success of a pilot program last June, which added 17 new food vendors – all of whom had to provide “more nutritious and diverse” options than hot dogs and packaged foods. Of the 17 new vendors, it says, 14 are still operational and three of which are expected to be operational in early 2011. The pilot program also allowed existing food venders to sell healthier and more diverse food options – an option which six vendors exercised.

The  report recommends that council permit 60 new street vending locations, 30 of which would be downtown, over approximately four years. This would increase street vending locations to 140, and result in a street vendor presence every two to three blocks downtown, as well as two vendors in each of Vancouver’s main commercial districts.