1. Chemistry-to-Go

      Chemistry can help food trucks operate faster, more efficiently, and with bolder colors.

      With low startup costs, potential for high returns, and substantial flexibility, food trucks have become a solid (and popular) business. And in mobile kitchens everywhere, chemistry is helping deliver the goods.

       

      Scenes from a mobile restaurant

      Imagine: A restaurateur looks to open an Asian, farm-to-table eatery. Rather than set up a storefront right away, she elects to test-drive her concept—literally. The vehicle for this tryout, she decides, will be a food truck: a rolling kitchen laboratory. Through trial and error, she determines the best parking locations and times to serve. She also learns she needs to offer customers a more-varied menu (maybe some miso ramen to pair with those curried chicken pot stickers). And when she finally does open a brick-and-mortar location, she tweaks the food truck menu again, looking to evolve it in sync with the new restaurant. Her food truck, by the way, has grown to serve as many as 100 customers per hour.

      A factoid shows that the annual growth rate for the food truck industry from 2011 through 2016 was 7.9%.

      No matter the posted speed limit, the food truck business can move pretty quickly. All the turns in the above cooked-up narrative could happen within a couple years or less.1 The reason: The mobile food business by its nature gives food truckers flexibility. Owners can change location in seconds, and menus in days—if not hours.

      Much of this elasticity is enabled by chemistry. Cookware made with Teflon™ nonstick coatings can allow for faster preparation, while products like Ti-Pure™ titanium dioxide can better protect ingredients outside of dining rooms. With everything from thinner food packaging in the fridge to bolder colors on trucks, chemistry helps give food truckers the options they need to serve on the go.

      The need for speed

      Through 2017, the food truck industry experienced five years of rapid growth, increasing roughly 7.9% annually since 2011.2 It’s a business that can come together quickly and turn on a dime (or at least around a corner) to embrace change—whether that be new routes or changed-up menus.

      Speed is also necessary in the kitchen, since customers have to stand and wait for their food outdoors rather than sit at comfy tables. Here, Teflon™ nonstick coatings can help.

       


      An image of Chuck Allgood, Refrigerants Technology Leader at The Chemours Company.

      Our Expert Corner

      Chuck Allgood explains how Opteon? refrigerants help keep restaurant food safe, nutritious, and delicious.

      More >



      An image shows children enjoying an amusement park ride, one of many leisure activities chemistry makes possible.

      We Put “Delight” Under a Microscope

      Explore more topics and insights about how today’s advanced chemistry enables optimal leisure experiences.

      Join us >



      Discover more with Chemical & Engineering News and learn about the chemical and materials science that makes fun possible. >



      An image of Alice van der Ende, Regional Business Development Manager, Ti-Pure™ Plastics at The Chemours Company.

      Alice van der Ende

      Regional Business Development Manager,
      Ti-Pure™ Plastics

      We’re trying to help our customers downgauge—reduce the amount of packaging, yet still give them the performance they need.

      “Food trucks handle lots of volume—at least the ones I’ve seen,” says Christa Kaiser, Market and Business Manager for Teflon™ Consumer Coatings. “With food truck cooking, you need to make lots of meals and get them out of the pans neatly and quickly, then be able to dip the pans in hot water and wipe them. Teflon™ nonstick coatings exist to release food, making pans easier to clean.” Plus, in such tight quarters, food truck owners can use compact equipment such as portable electrically heated grills—a number of which incorporate nonstick surfaces with Teflon™ coatings.

      And the most-discerning food truck chefs will be relieved to hear that Teflon™ cookware does allow for the Maillard effect—the chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that browns food and produces that distinctive taste. “There’s a little bit of a myth that you can’t brown and caramelize with a nonstick pan,” Kaiser says. “That’s not true. Yes, for sauce, there are fewer brown bits—the meat left on the pan—because the surface is nonstick. And caramelizing does take a bit longer. Still, you can do both of these.”

      Tiny kitchens

      The typical food truck floor plan ranges from 120 to 200 square feet1—pretty tight quarters for making rice balls. Since space is at such a premium, food truckers must make the most of each centimeter. Chemistry can help free some space.

      “We’re trying to help our customers downgauge—reduce the amount of packaging, yet still give them the performance they need,” explains Alice van der Ende, Regional Business Development Manager for Ti-Pure? Plastics. That means making containers thinner, yet able to keep the contents protected.

      An image of Christa Kaiser, Market and Business Manager, Teflon™ Consumer Coatings at The Chemours Company.

      Christa Kaiser

      Market and Business Manager,
      Teflon™ Consumer Coatings

      Food trucks handle lots of volume. Teflon™ nonstick coating exists to release food, making pans easier to clean.

      “Packaging can now take up less space and make less waste,” van der Ende continues. “Normally something like sour cream came in cup-like containers. Now they also come in these stand-up pouches—and you can just reseal them.”

      The contents of these pouches are also better protected against light’s damaging rays. When included in food packaging, Ti-Pure™ can block light that can be damaging to foods, helping keep nutritional value and extending shelf life.

      Food coloring

      Mobile eateries benefit from an eye-catching, memorable paint job. One that pops. After all, food trucks are basically billboards on wheels—and the delicious product advertised is right inside, available to customers on-site.

      Ti-Pure™ helps here too. Used in paints, Ti-Pure™ delivers opacity that makes coatings whiter and brighter. In addition, it helps provide durability, which in turn resists color fading.

      “At the Wilmington [Delaware] Farmers Market, all the food trucks show up on Wednesdays,” van der Ende notes. “And unless you have your go-to truck, you’ll look around and see what attracts your attention. So color and graphics—they really do give appeal.”

      And when in those instances where food truck owners don’t want a long-lasting logo on their trucks, at least they can be quickly changed—unlike the major storefront renovation required for some brick-and-mortar restaurants.

      So if that Asian, farm-to-table food truck above needs to transform into, say, a Texas sandwich joint, a new paint job can happen fast—much like everything else in the food truck industry.

      1 “Mobile Food Vehicles: What Platform to Run Your Business From.” Mobile Cuisine: Food Truck, Pop Up & Street Food Coverage, July 18, 2018. mobile-cuisine.com/startup-basics/mobile-food-vehicles/.
      2 “America’s Food-Truck Industry Is Growing Rapidly Despite Roadblocks.” The Economist, May 4, 2017. www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2017/05/daily-chart-3.

      An image of Chuck Allgood, Refrigerants Technology Leader at The Chemours Company.

      Our Expert Corner

      Chuck Allgood explains how Opteon? refrigerants help keep restaurant food safe, nutritious, and delicious.

      More >



      An image shows children enjoying an amusement park ride, one of many leisure activities chemistry makes possible.

      We Put “Delight” Under a Microscope

      Explore more topics and insights about how today’s advanced chemistry enables optimal leisure experiences.

      Join us >



      Discover more with Chemical & Engineering News and learn about the chemical and materials science that makes fun possible. >



      Contact Chemours

      Contact Chemours to request information about our company, businesses, or individual products and services.

      色婷婷亚洲婷婷7月