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The growth of the gourmet food truck industry is charted in new UM study

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Gourmet food trucks have seen remarkable growth in recent years.

A new University of Michigan study looks at the phenomena.

Researcher Todd Schifeling is a doctoral candidate in sociology at UM.  He’s also a big fan of food trucks. In fact, he says he was spending so much time eating at his local food truck, he thought he might as well get some research done at the same time.

Schifeling says gourmet food trucks tend to grow in communities with active locally grown food scenes and more than the average number of college graduates.

“I think the gourmet food trucks are definitely growing out of a larger food culture,” says Schifeling, “At the same time, it’s probably true they are contributing to help that local food culture grow.”

Schifeling says communities with active and diverse local food cultures tend to be ones that attract and develop gourmet food truck offerings.

“There’s a microbrewery near where I live,” says Schifeling, “Every night they have a different food truck. It’s like a rotating restaurant for me.”

Schifeling will present his findings at the American Sociological Association meeting this weekend in San Francisco, which, of course, will have a lot of gourmet food trucks to choose from.

Schifeling estimates there are about four thousand ‘gourmet’ food trucks in U.S. cities with more than 100,000 residents. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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