African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure (Jan 2019)

Developing a food literacy definition for South Africa.

  • Hennie Fisher,
  • Prof. Alet C. Erasmus ,
  • Dr. Annemarie Viljoen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 8, no. 1


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Food literacy has been advocated by many recent researchers as an individual or society’s ability to better interact with their food and nutritional needs. These researchers maintain that current illnesses resulting from our lost ability to maintain good health by interacting sensibly with our food intake, can be ‘reclaimed’ if individuals and society developed improved food literacy levels. In this research a South African definition for food literacy as a construct, with its inherent sub-components and related domains, were developed using the Delphi methodology. Delphi is viewed as an excellent method to seek consensus or agreement from a sample of experts in a particular field. This Delphi application consisted of two primary rounds where a stable consensus definition for food literacy in South Africa was achieved. Between 76 and 71 eminent food experts from five occupation groupings (five experts fell out between round one and round two) participated in the Delphi process. This group identified six sub-components and agreed that they adequately supported the content of what food literacy entails. An additional third round was later used to ascertain the food experts’ opinions regarding the inclusion (or uncertainty or exclusion) of 204 specific food literacy scale items, as part of the larger research to develop a food literacy measurement instrument.