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What Are the Top 3 Most Popular Food Truck Foods

What Are the Top 3 Most Popular Food Truck Foods? (Guide)

Last Updated on March 19, 2024 by Shari Mason

Food trucks have transformed into a thrilling and treasured aspect of the gastronomy world, providing mouth-watering dishes to food enthusiasts nationwide through their mobile locations.

As a food enthusiast, I’ll deep dive into some fascinating facts and statistics that shed light on the thriving food truck industry and answer what are the top 3 most popular food truck foods. 

Page Contents

Most Popular Food Truck Foods: Facts & Statistics

Most Popular Food Truck Foods Facts & Statistics

Food trucks have become a culinary phenomenon, offering a delectable array of delights on wheels. 

Here are some statistics that reflect the thriving and dynamic world of food trucks that continues to captivate food enthusiasts nationwide: 

  • Barbecue [1], burgers, and tacos are the three most popular food truck foods in the US, enticing taste buds with their flavors and convenience.
  • In 2023, the food truck industry experienced a notable surge, with 36,324 businesses showing a 9.9% increase from the previous year. 
  • Millennials, aged 25-44, drive food truck spending, accounting for 43% of monthly expenditure, while the younger generation under 25 contributes an additional 20%. 

“Food trucks hit the streets, offering a mobile feast for every palate and creating delightful memories one delicious bite at a time.”

– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice

Food trucks’ widespread appeal reflects a vibrant and diverse culinary landscape, providing unique and delightful dining experiences for food enthusiasts nationwide. 

Top 12 Fun Facts & Shocking Stats About The Most Popular Food Truck Foods

1. According to reports, the top 3 most popular food truck foods in 2023 are:

top 3 most popular food truck foods in 2023

Barbeque

Barbecue stands tall as one of America’s most popular and profitable food truck options. 

Cooking grilled food has enhanced the market growth among youngsters, making it a favorite choice among food truck enthusiasts. 

Approximately one-third of Americans consume barbecue or barbecue-sauced foods every week, driving the success of these mouthwatering mobile barbecue joints.

Burgers

The quintessential American favorite, burgers, are a top pick among food truck enthusiasts. 

From classic beef patties to creative plant-based alternatives, food truck chefs continually experiment with tantalizing taste buds with their burger offerings [2]. 

Tacos

Tacos have secured a special place in the hearts and palates of food truck enthusiasts. Based on Statista, Mexican cuisine, like Tacos, was incredibly popular among US residents [3]. 

The diversity and versatility of tacos, with their endless combinations of fillings and toppings, make them an irresistible choice for foodies seeking a flavorful fiesta on wheels.

2. Based on Google search volume, Tacos, sandwiches/rolls, and fries rank as Americans’ favorite food truck options.

With their versatile fillings and toppings, Tacos rank high on the list, offering a taste of Mexican street food culture. 

Sandwiches and rolls, whether classic favorites or creative twists, provide a satisfying and convenient option for foodies on the go.

And who can resist the allure of crispy and golden fries, the ultimate comfort food? An average American can eat 48 pounds of french fries yearly [4]. 

3. American cuisine, in particular, holds a dominant position in food trucks, as it garners the most searches in 47 states.

Food trucks proudly showcase the best American culinary heritage from coast to coast, offering a delightful array of dishes that capture the essence of the nation’s diverse tastes and flavors.

American cuisine takes center stage and continues to dominate the food truck scene with its broad appeal and ever-evolving innovations [5].

4. According to QSR magazine and industry reports, barbecue stands out as an immensely popular and profitable item in the North American food truck scene.

barbecue stands out as an immensely popular and profitable

As per QSR magazine and industry reports, barbecue has emerged as a highly sought-after and lucrative item in the North American food truck scene.

From tender smoked meats to lip-smacking barbecue sauces, food trucks specializing in this delectable fare have captured people’s hearts and taste buds far and wide. 

5. Over 95 percent of Americans express their fondness for barbecue, and approximately one-third consume barbecue or barbecue-sauced foods on a weekly basis.

Barbecue has secured a special place in the hearts of over 95 percent of Americans as they express their unwavering fondness for this delectable cuisine. 

Its irresistible allure doesn’t stop at admiration alone, as nearly one-third of the population indulges in barbecue or barbecue-sauced foods weekly [6]. 

6. Iconic Korean bites like beef bulgogi, bibimbap, and kimchi fries have become permanent fixtures in the NYC food truck scene.

Iconic Korean bites

With their bold and unforgettable taste, these Korean delicacies have carved out a special place in the hearts of food truck enthusiasts, adding an exciting international flair to the diverse and dynamic culinary landscape of the Big Apple.

7. Millennials play a significant role in the food truck generation.

With their adventurous and open-minded palates, millennials have played a significant role in shaping the food truck generation. 

Seeking unique and Instagram-worthy dining experiences, they flock to food trucks for innovative and flavorful dishes that cater to their diverse tastes. 

8. Food truck chefs actively engage in menu experimentation, with over 34% regularly introducing new dishes.

From fusion delights to inventive twists on classics, food truck chefs embody the spirit of culinary artistry, making each visit to a food truck an adventure of flavors and tastes.

“Chefs don’t make mistakes; they make new dishes.” 

– Elizabeth Brigg, Author

These talented chefs infuse their menus with fusion delights that blend various cuisines, creating tantalizing combinations that surprise and delight taste buds. 

9. According to an IBISWorld Inc. report, 43% of food truck spending each month comes from 25- to 44-year-olds, and those under the age of 25 contribute an additional 20%.

According to an IBISWorld Inc.

The youngsters drive food truck sales [7]. Young adults today seek more than just a meal; they crave unique dining experiences that allow them to discover new flavors and cuisines. 

With their adventurous palates and love for unique dining experiences, these young spenders continue to shape the food truck industry’s success, reaffirming its position as a culinary phenomenon loved by all ages.

10. Adults between the ages of 25 and 44 account for 43% of food truck spending.

Food trucks cater perfectly to their on-the-move lifestyle, offering diverse culinary experiences at their fingertips.

With their busy lifestyles and adventurous appetites, this age group embraces the food truck experience, seeking out a variety of flavors and culinary experiences on the go. 

11. As of 2023, there are 36,324 Food Truck businesses in the US, experiencing an increase of 9.9% from 2022.

The food truck industry in the United States is experiencing an impressive surge based on IBISWorld [8]. 

From bustling urban centers to quaint small towns, food trucks have become a beloved and essential part of the culinary landscape. 

12. The Food Trucks industry in the US incurs its highest costs as a percentage of revenue in Wages (27.3%), Purchases (43.1%), and Rent & Utilities (6.3%).

Food Trucks industry in the US

Food trucks generally spend less on utilities than traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants, making them a more profitable option for many entrepreneurs.

By prudently managing these critical expenses, food truck entrepreneurs can balance providing unforgettable dining experiences and achieving long-term profitability in this ever-thriving industry.

FAQs 

u003cstrongu003eWhat type of food is most popular in food trucks?u003c/strongu003e

The most popular type of food in food trucks is barbeque. The smoky, flavorful meats and savory barbeque sauces have captured the hearts and taste buds of food truck enthusiasts nationwide.

u003cstrongu003eWhat are the most popular food truck items in America?u003c/strongu003e

America’s most popular food truck items include tacos, sandwiches/rolls, and fries, which rank high in Google search volume and cater to diverse taste preferences, satisfying foodies on the go.

u003cstrongu003eWhat are the trends in sales for the food truck industry in 2023?u003c/strongu003e

In 2023, the food truck industry experienced significant growth, with 36,324 businesses. The number of food truck businesses has increased significantly by 9.9% compared to the previous year, indicating its resilience and growing popularity. 

u003cstrongu003eWhat are consumer trends with food trucks?u003c/strongu003e

Consumer trends with food trucks indicate a growing focus on health-conscious choices. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes have become staples on food truck menus, allowing customers to enjoy flavorful meals while adhering to their dietary preferences and restrictions.

Bottom Line 

Food trucks have become a culinary phenomenon, offering various dishes that captivate food enthusiasts nationwide. 

Barbecue, burgers, and tacos emerge as the top three most popular food truck foods in the US, satisfying taste buds with their flavors and convenience. 

The thriving food truck industry embodies culinary artistry, with chefs actively engaging in menu experimentation, introducing new and inventive dishes that create an adventure of flavors for food enthusiasts.

Thanks to the young spenders, the shape of the success of food truck businesses reaffirms its position as a culinary phenomenon loved by all ages.

References:

  1. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-1-81-bn-bbq-charcoal-markets-2018-2028-with-2019-as-the-base-year-301161743.html 
  2. https://www.bonappetit.com/story/food-businesses-covid-19 
  3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1231955/popularity-mexican-cuisine-country/ 
  4. https://www.rd.com/article/america-favorite-food/
  5. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/how-america-became-a-food-truck-nation-99979799/  
  6. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/news/one-two-restaurants-offer-barbecue
  7. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nataliesportelli/2016/08/30/millennials-love-food-trucks-but-stale-laws-are-driving-them-out-of-business/
  8. https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/number-of-businesses/food-trucks-united-states/ 
Shari Mason

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