Increasing access for everyone to good quality food to improve Scotland’s diet and food culture will be the top priorities of the ambitious next phase of the Scottish Government’s food and drink policy.
Scotland’s food and drink sector has enjoyed unprecedented economic growth – with industry turnover and export targets smashed years early – since the first Scottish National Food and Drink Policy, Recipe for Success, was launched in 2009.
Now the Scottish Government aims to build on that success with Becoming a Good Food Nation, a discussion document that seeks views on how to improve Scotland’s relationship with food through:
Creating a Scottish Food Commission to champion the importance of food to Scotland’s health, environment, economy and quality of life
Promoting good food choices to consumers, enlisting the support of retailers, food producers and public bodies
Having Scotland’s public sector lead by example with the NHS, local authorities and Scottish Government signing up to offer fresh, seasonal, local and sustainable produce
Developing a specific children’s food policy in recognition of the impact of food on the health of young people and their ability to influence society’s behaviour for generations to come
Working with communities to encourage the production and sale of more locally grown food
Realising the economic benefits of a better domestic food culture for Scotland’s food and drink sector.
It comes as the First Minister adds food to Richard Lochhead’s portfolio, as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, underlining the Scottish Government’s commitment to this policy.
Mr Lochhead said:
“Scotland is fast becoming one of the world’s leading food and drink nations. We have come a long way in terms of reputation and success in a few short years but we can do even better.
“We still have challenges but by working together across society in the years ahead we can build a Good Food Nation. The people of Scotland can enjoy the benefits of this by both producing and consuming quality food and drink at both home and abroad.
“We are already making progress through action being taken by the Scottish Government and our partners. For example, Curriculum for Excellence has created more than 135,000 individual opportunities for pupils to learn about food while all NHS food outlets and prisons now have the Healthy Living Award.
“But we must do more if we are to tackle world-wide threats to global food security, the environmental impact of food production and the £1 billion of food and drink Scots throw away each year. Just as Scotland is a Fair Trade Nation, we intend to be a Good Food Nation.
“And our nation has one of the poorest diet-related health records in the world with obesity alone, if unchecked, set to cost Scotland £3 billion by 2030. Consumption of fruit and vegetables among the poorest 20 per cent of Scots has fallen by a fifth since the recession.
“This discussion document sets out my vision of Scotland as a Good Food Nation where it is second nature to serve, sell and eat fresh, healthy food. Now is the right time to consider opportunities for Scotland’s future, as the eyes of the world are on our nation for our second Year of Homecoming, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, The Ryder Cup and the independence referendum.
“Of course, achieving this aspiration will be much easier with the full powers of an independent state. In any case, it will take at least a generation to deliver and will need the support of everyone in Scotland – and so I and our new Food Commission would like to hear views on how we can work together to drive change in Scotland’s food culture.”
Neil Forbes, Award Winning Chef and Director at Café St Honore and a champion of sustainable Scottish food, said:
“Reinvigorating the Scottish Government’s very successful Food and Drink Policy with a new ambition to turn Scotland into a Good Food Nation is great on so many levels. It will be welcomed by tourism, hotels and restaurants and the extraordinary people who produce the top-class food in Scotland that I get to cook with every day. Above all we can work to build a healthy population in Scotland that understands not only the cost of food but value of food for their own health, and well-being in Scottish society.”
Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive James Withers added:
“The ambition of our industry is huge and our effort to drive on the economic success story that is Scottish food and drink is unrelenting. But we are clear that the success of recent years and the key to reaching our goal an industry worth £16.5bn by 2017 is reputation. It is on that point that our economic ambition and the aspiration to be a Good Food Nation go hand in hand.
“Scotland is cementing its place on the world culinary map with a powerful combination of world class products and businesses. That, alongside our natural environment, is what has led Scotland to be labelled a Land of Food and Drink. But our reputation must run deeper still and be underpinned by improving our relationship with food within these shores.
“Scotland is now seen as model to follow by other countries in terms of forging a national food and drink identity and achieving economic growth. If the same level of collaboration that has been the catalyst for that, can also be focussed on wider food issues relating to diet, education and communities our reputation – the platform for future growth – will be stronger still.”
Becoming a Good Food Nation can be accessed via: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/299277
Recipe for Success can be accessed via: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/06/25133322/0