The questionnaire is designed for studies of 100 or more participants. There are different versions available for children, young people, adults and older adults. The questionnaire is primarily suited to participants whose diet is based on common UK-based foods and whose diet is consistent over a 3-month-period.

FFQs should not be used to estimate the intake of individuals or to provide dietary advice. It is important to note that diet and nutrient estimates of intake cannot be used to provide dietary advice to individuals or small groups.

Key Element of Questionnaire
  • Estimates food and beverage intake over a specified period up to one year, usually the previous 2-3 months.
  • Participants should have followed their habitual (usual) diets during the defined reporting period.
  • The list of foods – arranged into food groups - is regularly updated to reflect current eating habits and nutritional composition of foods.
  • The tool estimates diet semi-quantitatively. Respondents record the amount and frequency of consumption of each food and beverage.
  • All versions are available online or as paper copies.
  • The online format has been administered in clinics, research settings,
    • classrooms and home environments.
  • Can be self-completed or interviewer administered.
  • Analysis of food frequency responses provides estimates of:
    • Daily nutrient intake in total and by food group
    • Frequency of food and beverage consumption (in grams/day).
    • Food group intake e.g. fruit and vegetable or meat intake.
    • A range of novel nutrient and non-nutritive intake databases, these have been developed in-house,
    • A selection of dietary scores and indices are also available to assess the dietary quality of a population.
Questionnaire Versions

There are four versions of the questionnaire representing the different age groups available:

Version Suggested age range Questions include portion sizes Number of food groups Number of food items Notes
Children 3 to 11 years No1 16 140 Does not include coffee or alcohol. Can be used to estimate free sugar intake.
Young people 12 to 17 years No 16 148 Similar to children's version but includes coffee and alcohol.
Adults 18+ years Yes 19 160  
Older adults 65+ years No 19 160  

Sample copies are available on request.

What is the validity of the SCG-FFQ?

For validation studies please see the references listed below:

Web-based questionnaire entry:
Kyle J, Marais D, Gilson G, McPherson G. Evaluation of an electronic Scottish collaborative group food frequency questionnaire for British and Irish adults. International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods. Rome, Italy. May 2012 link

Adults FFQ:
Hollis JL, Craig LCA, Whybrow S, Clark H, Kyle JAM, McNeill G. Assessing the relative validity of the Scottish Collaborative Group FFQ for measuring dietary intake in adults. Public Health Nutrition 2017 20 (3) 449-455 doi: 10.1017/S1368980016002421.

Masson LF, McNeill G, Tomany JO, Simpson JA, Peace HS, Wei L, Grubb DA and Bolton-Smith C. Statistical approaches for assessing the relative validity of a food-frequency questionnaire: use of correlation coefficients and the kappa statistic. Public Health Nutrition 2003;6:313-21.

Older adults FFQ:
Jia X, Craig LCA, Aucott LS, Milne AC, McNeill G. Repeatability and validity of a food frequency questionnaire in free-living older people in relation to cognitive function. J Nutr Health Ageing 2008;12:735-41.

Children and Young Persons FFQ:
Craig LCA, McNeill G, Masson LF, Macdiarmid J, Holmes B, Nelson M and Sheehy C. Relative validity of two food-frequency questionnaires for children compared with 4-day diet diaries. Proc Nutr Soc 2010;69: E428.

Adults FFQ and the flavonoids database:
yle JAM, Masson LF, Grubb DA, Duthie GA, McNeil G. Estimating dietary flavonoid intake: comparison of a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire with 4-day weighed diet records in a Scottish population. Proc Nutr Soc. 2002;61:69A.

Further validation work is currently in progress for a) the adult FFQ in a comparison with 4-day non-weighed diaries and selected urinary intake biomarkers, and b) the fatty acids database.

What output is provided from the SCG-FFQ?

Total daily intake and intake by food group. A basic nutrient analysis using McCance and Widdowson's Composition of Foods (7th Edition).

The questionnaire collects data on dietary supplement use but intake of nutrients from supplements is not calculated by the analysis package. Additional nutrient analysis from alternative databases are available at an extra cost (see below).

Pricing of the SCG-FFQ

Online Questionnaires

  • Access charge of £1.00 per FFQ, with a minimum charge of £100 and a maximum charge of £500.

Printed Questionnaires

  • Cost of £2. per copy up to 500.
  • £1.00 per copy if more than 500 questionnaires are ordered (orders supplied in batches of 100)

Postage and packaging costs will also be added.

  Basic Nutrients Analysis Costs Additional datasets & analysis
No. of FFQs <500 500 - 999 >1000 -
Cost/FFQ £4.00* £3.50 £3.00 £1.50 - £4.50

*Minimum charge of £200

There are potentially reductions in costs for pilot studies.

Examples of additional nutrient and data analysis:

  • Fats and oils coding
    • To allow for a more detailed analysis of types of fatty acids that participants routinely consume.
  • Nutrient analysis of additional foods
    • There is a final question asking participants to record details of any foods and drinks not listed in the questionnaire.
  • Analysis from additional nutrient databases including:
    • Free sugars
    •  Flavonoids
    •  Fatty acids
    • Lutein and zeaxanthin
    • Caffeine
    • Phytoestrogens
  • Frequency and grams/day2 of food groups such as:
    • Fruit & vegetables.
    • Dairy products.
    • Oily fish and white fish.
  • Calculation of a range healthy eating dietary indices and scores including:
    • Mediterranean Diet Score.
    • Dietary score linked to the Eatwell Guide
    • Dietary Quality Index based on the Scottish Dietary Guidelines.
    • Dietary Quality Index-International.

Other Services

  • Specialist support is available to assist with all stages of the questionnaire data collection, paper FFQ data entry, and nutrient analysis.
  • Advice on other dietary patterns methodologies.
  • Web pages tailored to an individual project may be subject to an additional charge.

Please contact the team if you have any specific queries regarding data analysis