Street foods – ready-to-eat foods and beverages prepared and/or sold by vendors in the streets –  are one of the least expensive and most accessible ways for many low income people to access a nutritious meal outside of the homes or homesteads.

Despite its prevalence, street food, as a social phenomenon, has remained under-researched, and poorly taken up by policy makers. This could be because much of the debate on street food is dominated by concerns about hygiene, food safety, and urban planning. While not denying the negative outcomes, this research is concerned with overcoming the negative effects by undertaking multidisciplinary research into the existence and resilience of the street food sector in Southern and Eastern Africa.

Ignoring street foods and street trade, or failing to properly understand the socio-cultural, economic and ecological contributions limits the development of a more complete picture of food and food security dynamics in an urbanising Africa.