Street food research worldwide: a scoping review
Abrahale et al., JHND Early View
Street foods vary with respect to their nutritional value and safety characteristics and contribute to a sizable proportion of food intake in many populations worldwide. Therefore, the present study aimed to describe the coverage in the scientific literature of different health‐related and socio‐economic aspects of street food consumption and trading.
Three electronic databases (searched from inception to 16 October 2017), a hand‐search of relevant journals and backward citation tracking were used to identify eligible scientific articles with a main objective of investigating or reporting specific results on health‐related or socio‐economic aspects of street food. Papers published in English, Portuguese, French, Spanish or Italian, as well as English abstracts of papers published in other languages, were assessed. The selected articles were evaluated by two independent researchers and described according to year of publication, geographical distribution, definition of street food, main topics addressed and target population.
In total, 441 papers were selected. The number of publications has increased in recent years, almost half of them being published after 2012. Almost three‐quarter of the articles were from Africa or Asia. Most studies addressed food safety (85.5%), whereas street food availability and consumption were much less frequently investigated (30.3%). The focus of the studies was usually the food (mostly its microbiological contamination) and the vendors (mostly their food handling), whereas consumers and vending sites were seldom evaluated. More than half of the studies did not specify a definition for street food.
Efforts are needed for a more widespread and comprehensive assessment of different issues related to street food availability and consumption in different settings, especially regarding street food offer, nutritional composition, and patterns of purchase and consumption by the population.