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Junk food era revamps with food trucks and juice bars

As eating habits expand, the ‘junk food era’ is being replaced with an appetite for extreme alternatives.

%28Above%29+Belly+Bombz%E2%80%99s+sliders%2C+Asian-style+chicken+wings+and+garlic+fries+set+a+stark+contrast+to+%28Below%29+Salud%E2%80%99s+organic%2C+cold-pressed+juices.+
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Junk food era revamps with food trucks and juice bars

(Above) Belly Bombz’s sliders, Asian-style chicken wings and garlic fries set a stark contrast to (Below) Salud’s organic, cold-pressed juices.

(Above) Belly Bombz’s sliders, Asian-style chicken wings and garlic fries set a stark contrast to (Below) Salud’s organic, cold-pressed juices.

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(Above) Belly Bombz’s sliders, Asian-style chicken wings and garlic fries set a stark contrast to (Below) Salud’s organic, cold-pressed juices.

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(Above) Belly Bombz’s sliders, Asian-style chicken wings and garlic fries set a stark contrast to (Below) Salud’s organic, cold-pressed juices.

Alexandra Huynh, Contributing Writer

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As bankrupt and sleep-deprived college students devour their Doritos, new-age guilty pleasures like organic baked chickpea chips, acai bowls and Korean tacos are shifting taste buds.web_diversiond_1

The junk food era is reshaping itself into a sleeker, more innovative conjunction on the west coast of health food trends and unique ethnic palates for businesses that have done a dual play on the norm.

“There’s different markets for different types of foods,” Albert Shim, owner of Belly Bombz food truck that frequents Long Beach, said. “There’s one for the health conscious, which is getting really big; there’s fast food, there’s fine dining—there’s a lot of different categories.”

Despite the rise in awareness in healthy and sustainable food options such as the use of non-GMO products and paleo diets, Shim’s food truck business, which specializes in fusion Korean style street food and wings, has not seen any changes in the three years he has been in business.

“We’re more of the cheat meal,” Shim admitted. “I understand that healthy eating is a big thing nowadays, but we in no way think that’s part of the market.”

A January Entrepreneur Magazine article noted the contradiction of the culinary industry’s molecular gastronomy boom sharing a cab to the mainstream with the farm-to-fork movement, alluding to the trend of chef’s exercising extremes.

“We’re redefining on one hand, some of the typical junk foods that are being removed from the food landscape,” California State University, Long Beach nutrition professor Gail Frank said. “But I think they’re being replaced with specialty cupcake bakeries and gourmet burgers laced with half a pound of meat, three to four ounces of cheese, three to four slices of bacon and a special sauce that is probably high mayonnaise.”

The forward thinking allure of novel and unique creations that are not necessarily considered “healthy” has become a trend that has attracted foodies like David Nguyen.

“I got into the mindset a few months ago of the ‘look good, feel good’ saying,” the senior finance student at CSULB said. “I was trying to eat more gluten free foods. I don’t even know what that means, but I just got into that mindset of ‘it sounds healthy, I’m going to eat it because I want to look better.’”

The increased awareness of healthy eating habits has also created awareness for consumers and businesses wishing to make a change on society’s health hurtling habits.

According to the National Restaurant Association, 71 percent of adults are trying to eat healthier at restaurants than they did two years ago.

“In America I feel like the trends have slowly started to turn,” Angela Almaguer, owner of Salud Juice in Long Beach, said. “It’s prevalent in certain businesses changing their menu. The fact that McDonald’s is changing to sliced apples and salads are a reflection of how we are changing as a society. The fact that there is a high demand for a company like mine, which is cold cut organic juice, shows a change happening.”

Around 2005 there was more of a movement to be conscious of the type of foods to be eaten, professor Frank said.

This gave birth to many eating habits such as the paleo diet—a high level restriction of the vegetarian diet that took a look back at the caveman eating behaviors, the gluten-free diet and a more green perspective of eating that focuses on food production that restricts the amount of carbon dioxide it produces.

Since the demand for organic foods is low, organic farmers can be very hard to find and the prices are high, Almaguer said. She started her juicing business due to a health related death in the family.

“I did not go organic to benefit the business,” Almaguer said. “Going organic really affects the business; the organic product is very expensive and you don’t want to raise the prices on your customers a lot. From a business standpoint, it’s a very difficult choice to make, but it’s worth it.”

Companies like Long Beach’s Salud and Berlin Café are going fully organic, with owners looking at it from an ethical stance rather than a monetary stance.

“It is sometimes challenging, but it’s a good challenge,” Berlin Café owner Kerstin Kansteiner, whose menu varies depending on the availability of the farmer’s market, said. “We’ve had some cooks that wanted to cook here because they can do their own special steak. They get to do something new every time, for some that’s a challenge, for others it’s a welcome challenge.”

1 Comment

One Response to “Junk food era revamps with food trucks and juice bars”

  1. Katie on May 7th, 2015 1:46 am

    This art6icle doesn;t make the paleo diet sound very good, so here’s my take on it.

    The point of the Paleo diet is, and I feel some people forget this, to not only diet, but to eat delicious foods at the same time. It’s the only diet I’ve come across that cuts out food groups, yet still focusses on everyone’s need to eat great food.

    I’m a real foodie, and would not survive on any other diet, but Paleo has been very good for me. I’ve written about one of my favourite cookbooks: http://cookbook-reviews.net/review-the-paleo-recipe-book/

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