Perspectives on food poverty definition and measurement in Northern Ireland

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Background and rationale for research questionAn increased research focus on food insecurity is concerned with its official definition and measurement (Carney and Maître, 2012). To determine the scale and severity of food impoverishment in the UK it is essential that an agreed definition and indicator be constructed to allow for routine measurement over time. Study aimsTo investigate stakeholder perspectives on: • The current food poverty situation in Northern Ireland (NI);• Food insecurity definitions and measurement to determine the causes/predictors of food poverty in NI; andTo develop a conceptual framework for food poverty that is culturally appropriate for NI and the UK, providing recommendations for measurement approaches.Research methodologyIn-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with policymakers, public health practitioners and campaigners (n~10). These elicited stakeholders’ perspectives on food poverty addressing existing measurement approaches; the predictors/ causes of food poverty; government responsibility; and what they perceive to be the implications for business of varying food poverty levels. Each interview was transcribed and thematically analyzed using NVivo11.ResultsPreliminary results indicate differences between stakeholder opinions as to what should constitute definition and measurement – for some the social exclusion element is an essential component, while others recognize its importance but are of the opinion that in order to gain traction for policy change a headline indicator may be preferable to one with solely experientialmeasures. It is intended that defining and measuring food poverty will facilitate evidence-informed policymaking and interventions to help those who experience food insecurity at varying levels of the spectrum.Funding declarationThe authors are grateful to the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland for funding the PhD studentship.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherKing's College London
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 21 Mar 2018
EventMulti-disciplinary research conference on food and poverty in the UK: Taking stock, moving forward - King's College, London
Duration: 21 Mar 2018 → …


ConferenceMulti-disciplinary research conference on food and poverty in the UK: Taking stock, moving forward
Period21/03/18 → …


  • Food poverty
  • food insecurity
  • indicator
  • measurement


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