Street food is a prominent part of Indian food culture. From Chhole tikkis of North to Bajjis and vadais of South, Pav Bhaji of West and Jhal Muri of East, every region has its own specialty street food cuisine. It is inexpensive, easily available and delicious! However, a study conducted by the Institute of Hotel Management, Pusa found high levels of bacterial contamination in food samples taken from popular street food joints in and around Delhi. The same dismal hygiene levels are found across the country where food vendors rarely wash their hands or wear gloves and throw waste materials around their cart, attracting flies and spreading disease.
In the wake of the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India recently issuing notices to street food vendors on maintaining cleanliness and hygiene, a few students of Jamia Milia Islamia University have worked on an innovation that is a blessing in disguise for food vendors. Huma Parvez, Nida Haque along with their team members Faiza Jamal and Ahmed Faraz Khan have conceptualized an eco-friendly food vending cart named ‘Innokart’. These four students of the Faculty of Architecture in Jamia Milia Islamia conceptualized the idea for participating in a competition that demanded a social innovation to address and solve a social issue.
These students came up with an idea of an improved food cart for street food vendors that was supported by the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship inside Jamia. Innokart has an innovative design that utilizes maximum space of a food cart, providing sustainable solutions for informal eating outlets and joints. The design has provisions for power to be generated from solar panels placed over its canopy and storage space for a battery. It also provides segregated waste collection space for separating dry and wet waste, storage space, safety lockers, disk brakes, several drawers, as well as a platform to place eateries and advertisement spaces on its top panel.
The Innokart model is built on a stainless steel and mild steel frame that support the canopy and fire resistant and water proof plywood boards to enhance aesthetics of design. “We conceptualized to improve the urban streetscape and came up with this idea to improve the street food vending, making it more hygienic and organized. A large population of urban workforce depends on street vendors while at work, even the formal sector prefers them over high-end restaurants” said Faiza Jamal, one of Innokart’s designers.
Innokart was one of the innovations showcased at the Festival of Innovations at Rashtrapati Bhavan in March 2016. The students are currently in the process of patenting their idea, after that they plan to test the cart in their university premises and then work on its commercial viability. Innocart would be used in their campus for selling street food by canteen staff and test if there are any flaws that need to be rectified. The cart promises to transform street food selling in India by providing an eco-friendly and hygienic platform for food vendors.