Mapping the intellectual structure and knowledge base of food literacy research: a bibliometric analysis

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McManus, Sarah
Pendergast, Donna
Kanasa, Harry
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Purpose Food literacy is a multidimensional concept that prioritises the aspects individuals require to navigate the contemporary foodscape successfully. The study aims to map the knowledge base and intellectual structure of the concept of food literacy to assess if the most cited definitions reflect these constructs.

Design/methodology/approach The inclusion criteria of full-text, peer-reviewed articles or conference papers, in English, using “food literacy” within the title, abstract, keywords or linked to the research focus produced 538 articles from the Scopus database from its inception until January 31, 2023. Articles were analysed according to exponential growth, geolocations, authors, articles, research areas and keywords using VOSviewer, CiteSpace and Excel.

Findings Food literacy research grew exponentially between 2012 and 2022 at a rate of 50% and spanned 62 research areas, with nutrition and dietetics being the most common. Vidgen and Gallegos were the most cited authors of the most cited article, and Australia was the most influential food literacy research geolocation. Research originating from developing countries within Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America was underrepresented, and COVID-19 impacted research trends between 2020 and 2023.

Practical implications It is recommended to link “food literacy” to appropriate publications to increase its visibility and that food literacy be redefined and conceptualised to better reflect its intellectual structure. To complete this task, further research guided by keyword clustering can enhance conceptual understanding.

Originality/value This study provides new insight into the knowledge base and intellectual structure of food literacy and provides scope for future research to develop the concept further.

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British Food Journal
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This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please visit Marketplace
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Medicine, nursing and health curriculum and pedagogy
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Pendergast AM, D; McManus, S; Kanasa, H, Mapping the intellectual structure and knowledge base of food literacy research: a bibliometric analysis, British Food Journal, 2024