PHILADELPHIA - While Philadelphia's food banks struggle to meet increasing demand, prices skyrocket, street vendors also feel the struggle. The city's food banks report that more than 16% of people are food insecure. With inflation at a 30-year high and supply chain issues, prices are also rising across the country. Last month's meat index was 11.9% higher than the previous year.
The rising cost of beef and pork has made it difficult for street vendors to keep up with the demand. This has led to a shortage of meat. The beef and pork indexes have gone up by 20 percent and 14%, respectively.
Food Cost Hit Street Vendors
The rising cost of food has been a significant problem for many Philadelphia street vendors. While most are still operating, many see small increases in their earnings. While setting up a cart can be expensive, street vendors also need to spend on food and supplies each day. The cost of food and supplies is one of the biggest expenses faced by street vendors.
"The typical lamb and chicken over rice platter have gone up from last year to about $7 or $8, but the price remains competitive. Despite the increase in prices, most cart workers are still paid hourly by their owners. The rise in cost may have been unavoidable. However, the affordability of these dishes is still attractive for many, and a few of these halal carts have been around for several years." – PhillyBite Magazine
Philadelphia Food Trucks
The pandemic has also hit the city's food truck culture. Many cities' college campuses are hushed and silent, and festivals and concert seasons have been postponed or canceled. The lack of business has forced mobile vendors to reinvent themselves. Soul D'Lysh went on the road in 2017 and began serving students at Temple University. Now, it also offers catering services for special events.
Philadelphia's Vax Mandates
Now that guests at all Philadelphia restaurants must wear masks and show proof of vaccination. The good news is that street vendors may have to meet the demands of Philadelphia's downtown lunch crowd. However, the ever-increasing inflation problem and further mandates inside the city are starting to hit many of Philadelphia's street vendors hard.