Street Foods in Central Kenya: Actors, Trends, and Opportunities

Paulina Moussavi, Krista Liguori, Khanjan Mehta

Abstract


Street foods served by vendors and hawkers are a popular snack or meal in most developing countries due to the industry’s widespread benefits. Benefits for vendors include low start-up costs, flexible schedules, and a fast return on investment, while benefits for consumers include affordability, fast service, and ease of accessibility, illustrating their symbiotic relationship. In many regions however, street foods lack adequate nutrition due to price and infrastructural constraints. Where street foods make up a significant portion of peoples’ diets, factors such as price, availability, and preparation method have direct implications on the economic status, food security, and health of a community. Research conducted in Nyeri, Kenya demonstrates the motivations behind buying and selling street foods, social and economic factors that influence these patterns, and their impact on vendors’ livelihoods, women’s empowerment, and consumer food options. This study, based on interviews with 50 street food vendors and 50 street food consumers who, moderately to regularly, buy and sell street foods, outlines the local street food market, obstacles faced by vendors, and recommendations for increasing the industries healthiness and social acceptance. General recommendations include social and political advancements, legal protections, education programs, and opportunities related to health innovation.

Keywords


Entrepreneurship, Food Security, Community Health, Street Foods

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