“Food trucks are a great addition to school food service—both from a way to engage the older kids and a way to engage the community,” says Ann Cooper, the director of food services at Colorado’s Boulder Valley School District. “It’s part of a great overall marketing strategy.”
Last year, Boulder Valley became one of the first districts in the U.S. to start serving school lunches at a food truck during the academic year. The vehicle, which has been attractively styled as a cross between a rustic farmhouse and a milk truck, was funded by a $75,000 grant from Whole Foods Market.
Cooper says that though the truck mostly serves the same food as the cafeteria and the prices are identical, the students find the truck food more appealing.
“Cafeteria participation has been up and so is the number of kids eating at the food truck,” she says. “So we’re getting a demographic that never [ate at] the cafeteria before … Kids who walked off campus are now eating at the food truck.”
Getting high-school students to embrace #healthy eating is an age-old battle. And when it comes to lunch, many eschew their school cafeteria in favor of eating off-campus, where healthy choices don’t always abound.