Food security definition, measures and advocacy priorities in high-income countries: a Delphi consensus study

Public Health Nutr. 2023 Oct;26(10):1986-1996. doi: 10.1017/S1368980023000915. Epub 2023 May 5.


Objective: To establish an international consensus on the definition of food security, measures and advocacy priorities in high-income countries.

Design: A two-round online Delphi survey with closing in March 2020 and December 2021. Consensus was set a priori at 75 %. Qualitative data were synthesised and priorities were ranked.

Setting: High-income countries.

Participants: Household food security experts in academia, government and non-government organisations who had published in the last 5 years.

Results: Up to thirty-two participants from fourteen high-income countries responded to the Delphi with a 25 % response rate in Round 1 and a 38 % response rate in Round 2. Consensus was reached on the technical food security definition and its dimensions. Consensus was not reached on a definition suitable for the general public. All participants agreed that food security monitoring systems provide valuable data for in-country decision-making. Favoured interventions were those that focused on upstream social policy influencing income. Respondents agreed that both national and local community level strategies were required to ameliorate food insecurity, reinforcing the complexity of the problem.

Conclusions: This study furthers the conceptual understanding of the commonly used definition of food security and its constituent dimensions. Strong advocacy is needed to ensure food security monitoring, policy and mitigation strategies are implemented. The consensus on the importance of prioritising actions that address the underlying determinants of household food security by experts in the field from across wealthy nations provides evidence to focus advocacy efforts and generate public debate.

Keywords: Delphi survey; Food insecurity; Interventions; Monitoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delphi Technique
  • Developed Countries
  • Food Security
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Public Policy*