Food Consumption Score
English: % of the target population with acceptable Food Consumption Score (FCS)
French: % de la population cible ayant un Score de Consommation Alimentaire acceptable (SCA)
Portuguese: % da população-alvo com uma Classificação De Consumo de Alimentos (CCA) aceitável
Czech: % cílové populace s přijatelným Food Consumption Score (FCS)
What is its purpose?
The Food Consumption Score (FCS) is a more complex indicator of a household's food security status, as it considers not only dietary diversity and food frequency but also the relative nutritional importance of different food groups (on the other hand, its use of relatively long, 7 days recall period, might make the data less precise).
How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data
Determine the indicator's value by using the following methodology:
1) Conduct individual interviews with a representative sample of the target household representatives assessing how many days in the past 7 days the household has eaten any of the 16 pre-defined types of food by asking: "I would like to ask you about all the different foods that your household members have eaten in the last 7 days. During this period, how many days in the past 7 days has your household eaten ..." [name gradually all the 16 types of foods listed in WFP's FCS guidelines - access below].
2) Sum up all the consumption frequencies of foods belonging to the same food groups (there is a total of 9 groups, as listed in WFP's FCS guidelines). Recode the frequency value of each food group above 7 as 7 (e.g. if the summed up frequency value is 10, recode it as 7).
3) To create new weighted food group scores, multiply the value obtained for each food group by its "importance weight" specified in WFP's FCS guidelines.
4) By summing the weighed food group scores you calculate the Food Consumption Score (FCS).
5) According to the FCS's value, indicate the percentage of households with “poor” FCS (0-21 scores), “borderline” FCS (21,5 - 35 scores) and “acceptable” FCS (35,5 scores and above). However, these thresholds are not valid in all contexts - you might need to modify them based on the dietary patterns of the target population – read carefully WFP’s Guidance Sheet provided below and consult the Food Security Cluster in your country of operation.
6) To calculate the percentage of households with “acceptable” FCS, divide the number of households with FCS higher or equal to 35.5 scores by the total number of surveyed households. Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage.
Disaggregate the data by wealth and other relevant criteria.
1) FCS is based on dietary diversity, not on Sphere recommendations of Kcal / day. In countries where the Food Basket is based on Kcal / day, it might not include enough proteins and dairy products. Therefore, achieving an “acceptable” FCS would be extremely difficult in spite of household members eating sufficient calorie intake.
2) FCS is a good indicator of a household's food security; however, it does not help with understanding the quality of diets consumed by a specific group of household members, such as children 6-59 months of age.
3) FCS is prone to seasonal variations. Do your best to collect baseline and endline data at the same time of the year; otherwise, it is very likely that they'll not be comparable (i.e. providing largely useless data).
4) Make sure you do not collect data during fasting periods, such as pre-Easter time or Ramadan.
5) FCS is one of ECHO's Key Outcome Indicators. According to ECHO’s guidance (see below), FCS's target value should "be greater than 80%, but may be context specific.”
6) BHA phrases the indicator differently, as "percent of households with poor, borderline, and acceptable Food Consumption Score (FCS)".
Access Additional Guidance
- WFP (2008) Food Consumption Analysis (.pdf)
- ECHO (2016) List of Key Outcome Indicators (KOI) (.pdf)
- ECHO (2016) List of Key Outcome Indicators (KOI) - French version (.pdf)