Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Appetite. 2014 May;76:50-9. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.01.010. Epub 2014 Jan 22.

Defining food literacy and its components.

Author information

  • 1School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Rd, Kelvin Grove, Queensland 4059, Australia. Electronic address:
  • 2School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Australia.


Food literacy has emerged as a term to describe the everyday practicalities associated with healthy eating. The term is increasingly used in policy, practice, research and by the public; however, there is no shared understanding of its meaning. The purpose of this research was to develop a definition of food literacy which was informed by the identification of its components. This was considered from two perspectives: that of food experts which aimed to reflect the intention of existing policy and investment, and that of individuals, who could be considered experts in the everyday practicalities of food provisioning and consumption. Given that food literacy is likely to be highly contextual, this second study focused on disadvantaged young people living in an urban area who were responsible for feeding themselves. The Expert Study used a Delphi methodology (round one n=43). The Young People's Study used semi-structured, life-course interviews (n=37). Constructivist Grounded Theory was used to analyse results. This included constant comparison of data within and between studies. From this, eleven components of food literacy were identified which fell into the domains of: planning and management; selection; preparation; and eating. These were used to develop a definition for the term "food literacy".

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Cooking; Definition; Disadvantage; Food literacy; Nutrition; Skills

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk