Food trucks, nearly 3,000 in Italy


Food trucks in the limelight in Italy. Nearly 3,000 street food service businesses were registered by Unioncamere in the first quarter of 2018. Brief remarks on the resurgence of street food on the Apetta.

Street food catering, the growth data and its possible reasons

One new business every two days in street food service, according to Unioncamere data. 2,729 activities reviewed at the end of March 2018, up from 1,717 in 2013. The phenomenon can have several explanations.

On the supply side, the startup of so many microenterprises shows the widespread need to find new forms of livelihood, in an economy where the labor market is stagnant and precarious. Where, on the other hand-with relatively modest investment, and the personal employment of entrepreneurs-it is relatively easy to initiate pathways such as the one under consideration. (1)

The current growth in demand, in turn, can be explained by the increase in meals away from home — due to work requirements, above all — and the simultaneous reduction in spending capacity. In this context, street food, thanks to the variety of offerings and the convenience of the ‘on-the-go‘ meal, reaps successes. All the more so in a country like ours, where the climate is generally conducive to eating food on the public street.

Street food, challenges and medium-term scenarios

Compliance with the rules

in force regarding food safety

and consumer information, in the writer’s humble opinion, is the first issue to be carefully addressed in street food service.

Licenses, in recent years, have been granted with widespread generosity. Not because of sudden neo-liberalism of local governments in Italy, but rather to try to compensate–within the limits of each person’s possibilities–for the continuing march of the youth unemployment rate.

Official public inspection authorities, on their side, have so far shown a marked leniency toward this category of food business operators. Nevertheless, the same rules that are applied with (albeit relative) diligence to traditional public establishments must also be adhered to by food trucks.

It is therefore inevitable

that sooner or later, perhaps even at the urging of competition, regulators will start doing their work even on the shiny Piaggio Ape equipped to serve the

street food

. And the sanctions introduced by legislative decree. 231/17 on consumer information are anything but mild for individual microenterprises. (2)

While theeffective enforcement of official public controls on this industry could force less careful operators out of business, there is no guarantee that the market will be able to absorb such pronounced growth in the medium term. Therefore, it is worth thinking carefully before riding a wave that might even break on the rocks.

Dario Dongo


(1) Not surprisingly, more than 20% of street food businesses are carried out by young people (under 35 years old) and 11% by foreigners (up 52% from 2013)

(2) On this subject see the free ebook ‘1169 penis. Reg. EU 1169/11, food news, controls and penalties’. At