Using Food Frequency Questionnaires to Measure Traits: A Case Study of Human Consumption of Animals and Animal Products


  • Adam Feltz Orcid
  • Jacob Caton
  • Zac Cogley Orcid
  • Mylan Engel, Jr. Orcid
  • Silke Feltz
  • Ramona Ilea Orcid
  • L. Syd M. Johnson Orcid
  • Tom Offer-Westort Orcid


Measuring human consumption of animals and animal products (HCAAP) is challenging but often important for researchers and animal rights advocates. We contribute to measuring HCAAP by conceptualizing that consumption as a trait. In 3 studies, we analyzed responses from traditional Food Frequency Questionnaires and created two measures of HCAAP traits based on 24-hour and 3-month self-reports. Studies 1 (N = 249) and 2 (N = 265) evaluated the item-level properties of 24-hour and 3-month self-reports, eliminating items that were not likely to provide much information about the underlying trait of HCAAP. Study 3 (N = 252) provided evidence that the two measures were predicted by knowledge of animals as food, meat-eating rationalizations, numeracy, sex, and political orientation. These results suggest that the two instruments could be used to measure HCAAP as a trait. We offer suggestions as to when using the two instruments may be beneficial.