Food security is broadly defined as “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life” (Radimer 2002), food insecurity exists “whenever the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the ability to acquire acceptable food in socially acceptable ways is limited or uncertain” (Radimer 2002). According to the World Health Organisation (2011), there are three key parts of food security:
Food access: the ability to acquire and consume a nutritious diet, including;
the ability to buy and transport food;
home storage, preparation and cooking facilities;
knowledge and skills to make appropriate choices;
time and mobility to shop for and prepare food.
Food availability: the supply of food within a community affecting food security of people, families or a whole population, specifically:
location of food outlets; availability of food within stores;
price, quality and variety of available food (Nolan, Rickard-Bell, Mohsin, & Williams, 2006).
Food use: the appropriate use of food based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care.
There are three different “levels” of food security (see Figure 1 based upon Burns, 2004):
insecure but without hunger – where there may be anxiety or doubt about access to food or inappropriate use of food (i.e., poor nutritional quality) but regular consumption of food happens;
insecure with extreme hunger – where meals are often missed or not enough.