Measuring food literacy: Progressing the development of an international food literacy survey using a content validity study

Fingland, D., Thompson, C., & Vidgen H.A.




The term “food literacy” is increasingly used to describe the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to meet food needs. The aim of this research was to determine content validity for an International Food Literacy Survey.


The literature was searched for existing items to form an item pool to measure the eleven components of food literacy. Expert consensus was investigated through two related online surveys. Round 1 participants were researchers who had been involved in the development of a food literacy measure (n=18). Round 2 participants were authors of papers who had used the term (n=85). Level of agreement was determined quantitatively using the Content Validity Index and compared to open ended qualitative comments.


Consensus was achieved on 119 items. Components varied in the ease with which existing validated items could be found and the number of items achieving consensus. Items related to food prepared within the home were more likely to achieve consensus. Additional issues included limited shared understanding of the scope of the term, the validity of items varying according to context and a limited health focus.


This study provides a valuable basis upon which to progress the development of a measure.


Fingland, D., Thompson, C., & Vidgen H.A. (2021). Measuring food literacy: progressing the development of an international food literacy survey using a content validity study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(3) 1141-58.

Dr Courtney Stewart (RNutr, FHEA)

BNutrSc, BBiomedSc(Hons), PhD
Director, NPR Consulting

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