The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the scope of meaning of the term “food literacy”, its potential components and their relationship to nutrition from the perspective of consumers. Given that these components and how they relate to nutrition is likely to be highly contextual, the researchers chose to focus on one specific group as a case study; people aged 16- 25 years living in an urban area who were responsible for feeding themselves. The researchers were particularly interested in examining the influence of disadvantage. This study spoke to people across a spectrum of social exclusion and poverty. This focus on disadvantage was to both identify components of food literacy that were present across the spectrum of resource restrictions and to inform existing food literacy work which predominantly takes place with disadvantaged populations.
In addition to exploring the concept of food literacy, the study also examined the development of participants’ food literacy within their individual contexts. Anecdotally, practitioners have observed enhanced consumer interest in developing food literacy at times of transition for example; moving away from home, after being diagnosed with a diet-related disease, becoming a parent. The study was interested in examining this observation further. These results will be useful in the planning of interventions and investment to address food literacy.