The Price of Homemade Street Food in Central Asia and Eastern Europe: Is There a Relation with Its Nutritional Value?

Foods. 2021 Aug 25;10(9):1985. doi: 10.3390/foods10091985.

Abstract

The aim was to describe the price of homemade street foods in four cities of Central Asia and Eastern Europe and to analyze its association with energy density, macronutrients, sodium and potassium contents. Cross-sectional evaluations of street food vending sites were conducted in Dushanbe, Tajikistan (n = 562), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (n = 384), Almaty, Kazakhstan (n = 236) and Chișinău, Moldova (n = 89) in 2016-2017. Information on the homemade street foods available, including price, was systematically collected; the most commonly available foods (n = 64) were sampled for chemical analysis. Prices were converted to international dollars ($) and expressed as $/serving, $/100 g and $/100 kcal. The median street food price was $1.00/serving, $0.85/100 g and $0.33/100 kcal. Traditional foods were cheaper per 100 g than the westernized ($0.77 vs. $1.00, p = 0.011). For each unit increase in energy density (kcal/g), the homemade street foods were $0.12 cheaper per 100 kcal and $0.11 more expensive per 100 g. The carbohydrate content was negatively associated with price per 100 kcal, while total fat, monounsaturated, saturated and trans-fatty acids content were positively associated with price per 100 g. Energy-dense homemade street foods were the cheapest. Further insight on food preparation might clarify the association between carbohydrates and monounsaturated fatty acids content and street food price.

Keywords: Central Asia; Eastern Europe; food price; nutritional value; ready prepared foods; street food.