The missing link in the food system: food literacy as a consumer behaviour

Thompson, C., Byrne, R., Adams, J., & Vidgen, H.A.



Food systems monitoring has identified consumer behaviour as a driver of the food system in that consumers influence food systems through their buying choices and food access, availability and price can affect consumer behaviour. However, to date, there have been no reported measures for assessing food acquisition, preparation, meal practices and storage: all key components of food literacy. Therefore, the purpose of our research was to develop a food literacy questionnaire which adhered to the 4 domains and 11 components of food literacy according to Vidgen & Gallegos using comprehensive validation techniques.


Australian residents were approached via Qualtrics Market Research Panel to participate in an online survey. Participants had to reside in Australia, be 18+ years of age and proficient in the English language. They completed the 171-item pool developed from the Thompson et al. study. Data was analysed using statistics such as principal component analysis and item response theory.


The assumptions of unidimensionality were only met for 5 of the 11 food literacy components, specifically 1.2, 2.1, 2.3, 3.1, 4.3. The remaining six theoretical components were split into two statistical food literacy components, specifically 1.1, 2.2, 3.2 and 4.1. Or three statistical food literacy components, 1.3 and 4.2 based on the PCA output. Overall, 71 items were removed as they were low loading, cross loading or did not fit within a clear principal component structure, resulting in a 100-item food literacy item pool.


Overall, this research resulted in the IFLQ-19, a 100-item food literacy questionnaire. The IFLQ-19 reflected the 4 domains of planning and managing (6 statistical components), selecting (4 statistical components), preparing (3 statistical components) and eating (6 statistical components). The IFLQ-19 had acceptable, supported targeting, responsiveness, high validity and good reliability in the Australian population.


Thompson, C., Byrne, R., Adams, J., & Vidgen, H.A. (2022, March 18). The missing link in the food system: food literacy as a consumer behaviour. In The Future of Food Research: An Early Career Showcase, a Food Futures Conference 2022 Satellite Event.

Dr Courtney Stewart (RNutr, FHEA)

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

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