Measuring Change in Diet for Animal Advocacy


We consider the self-reported dietary measurement instruments currently recommended for animal advocacy research and possible alternatives to using these instruments. Reviewing the biases associated with self-reporting and comparing these self-reports with direct biochemical measurements of diet, we conclude the animal advocacy research community should strive for more accurate measurements of diet change and move away from self-reported measurements. Having identified this problem, we provide an overview of current and developing alternative measurements of diet change. First, we review commercial sources of food purchasing data. Second, we consider efforts to collect data with retailers and institutions through relationship-building with those organizations. Third, we consider predictive biomarkers as a developing alternative for directly measuring the diets of individuals. Finally, we relate the needs of animal advocacy researchers to the broader issues of measuring and understanding the food system.