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Four-Wheeled: PSFK Trend Insights Around Food

We spent some time recently looking back at the patterns in the content in PSFK to try to identify emerging themes within specific target categories. ...

Scott Lachut, PSFK Labs
Scott Lachut, PSFK Labs on September 18, 2009. @scottlachut

We spent some time recently looking back at the patterns in the content in PSFK to try to identify emerging themes within specific target categories. ‘Four-Wheeled’ is one of three trends we identified from the data found on our site.

Four-Wheeled Food:

Modern mobile food vendors are changing the ways that we discover food and simultaneously rendering the static dining experience offered by traditional establishments obsolete. Increasing numbers of enterprises are rethinking notions of connecting to customers and putting people into seats, by delivering their unique products and services directly to their audiences instead. Social networking technology assists in the success of these ventures, keeping food growers and producers in touch with consumers.

Examples

Food Carts Gain Popularity Coast-To-Coast

VendrTV is a web series that takes you across America and looks at the most interesting and delicious portable fare. Each episode runs a 7-10 minutes, and is hosted by the curious and exuberant Daniel Delaney, a Philadelphia-based entrepreneur who clearly has a passion for mobile eats – he conceptualized the show, and acts as editor and executive producer as well.

Van Leeuwen’s Ice Cream Trucks

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Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Trucks sell their wholesome, creamy goodness throughout New York City. The company focuses on good practice as much as good ice cream; serving cups are made of a chemical-free fiber derived form sugar cane, spoons are made from cornhusks, and all their ingredients are sourced with sustainability and quality in mind. Their commitment to goodness can to be tasted in every scoop too.

Casa Felix and Cool Haus: Secret Supper Clubs, Gourmet Food Carts

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Argentine supper club, Casa Felix, has become so popular that it is in the midst of its second North American Tour, catering to a select group of diners in six cities over the course of three months. In an effort to personalize the experience further, the chef promises to use local ingredients as the inspiration behind the meals.

And in Los Angeles, Freya Estreller and Natasha Case are taking a page from the growing list updating the roaming model of the jingling ice cream tuck of the past. Their Coolhaus venture explores the ways design influences the eating experience with architecturally inspired ice cream sandwiches.

Skillet Street Food: Nomadic Gourmet Fare

One company taking the nomadic foodie idea to a whole new level is Skillet Street Food. Based in Seattle, Washington, they forgo paying rent on some fancy space, and instead serve delicious gourmet food out of an old Airstream trailer.

Street Meat Gets Even More Mobile on Twitter

In an effort to drive up sales and alert customers when they might be in their area, many of these mobile entrepreneurs are turning to Twitter to put a digital spin on the idea of location-based advertising – a really smart use of the technology. Serious Eats has put together a comprehensive list of vendors from around the country so now your next meal is only a tweet away.

Applications and Online Networks Springing Up Around Local Food

Although the local food movement is hardly a new concept, we’re seeing applications (Locavore) and online networks (Ning, Ooooby, and VeggieTrader) popping up to connect farmers and eaters everywhere.

A Farm on Wheels

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Filmmaker Ian Cheney has transformed the bed of his old, gray Dodge Ram pickup into a fully functioning farm. To convert the back, Cheney adapted elements of green roofing technology – adding drainage, a water-absorbent bottom layer and lightweight soil – enabling him to plant a crop of heirloom vegetables and still be able to drive, giving an entirely new meaning to the idea of food miles.

Thinking...