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Home | Events Archive | Street Food Safety in Urban Markets

Street Food Safety in Urban Markets

  • Series
    Econometrics Seminars and Workshop Series
  • Speaker(s)
    Denni Tommasi (University of Bologna, Italy)
  • Field
  • Location
    University of Amsterdam, Room E5.22
  • Date and time

    May 26, 2023
    12:30 - 13:30

Street food is a popular and affordable source of food for many people in low- and middle-income countries, as well as a reliable source of income for vendors. However, it is also a leading cause of foodborne illnesses. Governments worldwide are trying to transform the industry by introducing regulations, licensing, formalization, and better health and hygiene standards, but progress has been sluggish. Our research focuses on understanding the factors that influence the production and consumption of safer street food. We conducted two experiments in Kolkata, India, to address this issue. On the demand side, we conducted a discrete choice experiment among consumers and discovered that they are willing to pay more for safer street food. On the supply side, we conducted a randomized controlled trial among vendors to test the hypothesis that vendors may not be supplying safer food due to credit constraints or lack of know-how. We provided vendors in both treatment arms with infrastructure to improve food safety during preparation, and vendors in one treatment arm also received weekly food safety training. While vendors in both groups utilized the infrastructure provided, we did not find any spillover effects on other food safety practices or kiosk activities. At the end of the study, we explored potential reasons for the results. Vendors mentioned that the main reason they do not invest in their kiosks is because the infrastructure is frequently stolen on the street. Additionally, there is a high degree of coordination on prices and goods, and deviation from common practices is not favorable. We also found evidence of inertial business practices.