Street traders can be a source of healthy food. However, where fast-food vans operate outside schools or workplaces at lunchtime and ice cream vans trade outside school gates they may encourage less healthy eating and even subvert other efforts to improve nutrition. This is particularly true in the context of the ‘school fringe’ where A5 hot food takeaways are beginning to be discouraged and school food regulations are improving pupils nutrition. Where restrictions are placed on static takeaways, similar restrictions must be put in place to prevent mobile traders exploiting a gap in the market.
Local authorities could look to street vendors as a means of improving access to healthy food by promoting fruit and veg stalls or healthy takeaway food in their area. This would require a local licensing policy favouring healthy food choices in provision of permits to trade.