Food Insecurity Measurement: Stakeholder Comparisons of the EU-SILC and HFSSM Indicators and Considerations Towards the Usefulness of a Headline Indicator

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Abstract

Prior to the February 2019 announcement that the Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM) will be used to estimate household food insecurity, there has not been a standardised measurement approach used in the United Kingdom (UK). Measurement has instead been somewhat inconsistent, and various indicators have been included in national and regional surveys. There remains a gap relating to the comparative usefulness of current and past food insecurity measures used in Northern Ireland (NI) (HFSSM; European Union-Survey of Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) food deprivation questions), and the potential usefulness of a headline indicator similar to that used to measure fuel poverty. This study presents findings from Northern Ireland (NI) stakeholder interviews (n = 19), which examined their perspectives on food insecurity measures which have previously been or are currently, or could potentially, be used in the UK/NI (HFSSM; EU-SILC food deprivation questions; headline indicator). Interview transcripts were coded using QSR NVivo (v.12) and inductively analysed to identify relevant themes. Stakeholders preferred the HFSSM to the EU-SILC, reasoning that it is more relevant to the food insecurity experience. A headline indicator for food insecurity was considered useful by some; however, there was consensus that it would not fully encapsulate the food insecurity experience, particularly the social exclusion element, and that it would be a complex measure to construct, with a high degree of error. This research endorses the use of the HFSSM to measure food insecurity in the UK, and provides recommendations for consideration of any future modification of the HFSSM or EU-SILC measurement instruments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Early online date11 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Open Access funding provided by the IReL Consortium. This research was funded by the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Food insecurity
  • food poverty
  • measurement
  • Northern Ireland
  • HFSSM
  • EU-SILC

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