In a policy environment that contains structures to enable public engagement, the validity of expressions of public opinion and concern are in part legitimated through constructions of their representativeness. The current paper examined the ways in which various organisations involved in food and nutrition policy development negotiated the legitimacy of their inclusion in policy processes through claims about who they represented and how, with a specific focus upon older people (aged 60+) as an example of the " hard to reach" This study is set in the context of theoretical considerations around the forms of representativeness that have been identified in the literature. A thematic analysis of 52 interviews with organisations and stakeholders active in the area of food and nutrition policy in England, UK explores these competing modalities of representation and how they are used both to claim legitimacy for self and to discount the claims of others. Different scripts of representation are deployed by various stakeholders and there is evidence of the strategic and the simultaneous deployment of different representativeness claims. The notions of expert representativeness permeate other modalities of representativeness, suggesting that the dominant framework for food and nutrition policy development is based upon technocratic models of decision-making. This highlights the way in which public views can be distanced from the framing of policy questions.