Local food for everyone: consultation analysis

Summary of respondents’ views, and our response to the consultation on Local Food for Everyone.



The food and drink sector is a major contributor to Scotland's economy, generating turnover of around £15.0 billion and adding £5.5 billion in GVA (Gross Value Added) per year. It is made up of more than 17,400 businesses, employing around 122,000 individuals[1], and is an important contributor to some remote and economically fragile rural and island communities.

It is also recognised that the use of local food and drink products is beneficial to the environment and helps to meet Scottish Government targets on climate change as well as supporting local economies. It is widely acknowledged that the food we grow, the way we produce and distribute it, the distance it travels and businesses we buy it from, all have an impact on local communities, the local economy and the health and wellbeing of people.

Recipe for Success – Scotland's first national food and drink policy – was published in 2009. Since this date, there has been increased emphasis on the importance of food issues and the food and drink sector has seen high levels of growth in terms of the value of food and drink exports, as well as growth in local food initiatives and the introduction of a number of educational initiatives.

Since this time, a number of initiatives have been undertaken by individuals and organisations involved in the food and drink sector, to ensure that Scotland can benefit from the food and drink sector. This has included working alongside Scotland Food and Drink, which is the lead body with responsibility for growth within the sector.

The national food and drink policy – Becoming a Good Food Nation – was published in 2014, setting out the vision that "by 2025 Scotland will be a Good Food Nation where people from every walk of life take pride and pleasure in, and benefit from, the food they produce, buy, cook, serve and eat each day." Since then, work has been undertaken to help improve access to, and the benefits of, healthy local foods, helping to ensure the sustainability of Scotland's food industry and helping to grow Scotland's reputation as a Good Food Nation.

More recently, there have also been a number of initiatives introduced to support the development and growth of this sector. For example, in 2017, the Scottish Government, its enterprise agencies and the food and drink industry supported delivery of a new food and drink strategy – Ambition 2030 – through a £10 million funding package. The aim was to help the industry realise its ambition to double its value by 2030. Also in 2017, a further £1.3 million over a three year period was provided to support locally-produced food in the public sector via plans to increase the use of Scottish produce in schools, hospitals and other public sector organisations. In 2018, the newly launched industry-led Food and Tourism Scotland Action Plan set out a range of actions to maximise the potential of the tourism and food and drink sectors. The action plan aimed to unlock growth potential and secure additional tourist spend to the tune of an extra £1 billion on local food and drink produce by 2030.

Since 2018, the Connect Regional Food Fund (RFF) has awarded over £355,000 to a range of innovative projects; and in February 2020, regional projects and businesses across Scotland were awarded funding to promote locally sourced food and drink, with a total of 21 projects sharing £95,550.

The SNP manifesto included a focus on the 'Right to Food' which included actions under 'Eat Healthy; Eat Local'. This included action to "produce a local food strategy which supports locally based production and circular supply chains, cutting food miles and enabling more people to enjoy food grown locally".

The COVID-19 pandemic has had both positive and negative impacts; with some innovative developments within the food and drink sector, although a key issue is whether all these developments will be sustainable in the longer term, particularly in the light of the current staff shortages across the sector.

Most recently, the Good Food Nation Bill was introduced in October 2021 and lays the foundation for Scotland to become a Good Food Nation where people from all walks of life take pride and pleasure from the food they produce, buy, cook and eat each day.

In August 2021, the Scottish Government published its 'Local Food for everyone: a discussion'. This document set out a comprehensive programme of actions the Scottish Government are taking to support local food as well as asking for views on what more could be done to create a future where all can enjoy locally produced food.

Respondent Profile

Written consultation responses

A total of 298 responses were received: 81 from organisations and 217 from individuals.

Consultation respondents were assigned to respondent groupings in order to enable analysis of any differences or commonalities across or within the various different types of organisations and individuals that responded.

A list of all those organisations that submitted a response to the consultation and agreed to have their name published is included in Appendix 1.

The following table shows the numbers of responses in each analysis sub-group. The largest organisation sub-groups with 17 respondents were campaign / advocacy and representative bodies, followed by food / food retail / producer / distributor (9 respondents) and community interest / social enterprise (7 respondents); there were smaller numbers in other sub-groups.

Table 1 - Respondent profile
Campaigning / advocacy 17
Community interest / social enterprise 7
Education / Academic / Research 4
Environment / conservation 5
Food / food retail / producer / distributor 9
Local authority 3
Public sector / NDPB 5
Representative body 17
Third sector (food) 6
Third sector (non-food) 4
Other 4
Total organisations 81
Individuals 217
Total respondents 298

Consultation engagement programme

A series of 18 tailored workshops were held during October and November 2021, to provide an opportunity for further input on the Local Food Strategy in addition to written responses. A total of 297 participants attended these workshops, which were designed and co-ordinated by Nourish Scotland in partnership with Scotland's Sustainable Food Places food partnerships network and the Scottish Government.

The following is a list of all the official workshops - the majority were run online, although two were held in person in Stirling and on the Isle of Arran. Nourish also supported a number of 'informal' local food discussions including at 'climate cafes' in Glasgow and former coal mining communities including Kincardine, High Valleyfield, Auchinloch and Cardowan.

Aberdeen: 27th October

Angus: 15th November

Arran: 17th November, in person event

Clackmannanshire: 12th November

Dumfries & Galloway: 26th October

Dundee: 15th November

Edinburgh: 17th November

Fife: 16th November

Glasgow: 26th October

Glasgow (west): 23rd November

Highland: 4th October

Islands: 17th November

North Ayrshire: 17th November

South Lanarkshire: 28th October

Stirling: 27th October, in person event

Workshops also took place for Scotland's Sustainable Food Places regional coordinators (29th October), Nourish Scotland members (12th October) and also for the 'Good Food' in Scottish Schools Working Group looking at the provision of universal free school meals (25th October) including members from ADES Resources Network, APSE, Argyll & Bute Council, ASSIST FM, Brakes Scotland, COSLA, East Ayrshire Council, Edinburgh City Council, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, North Ayrshire Council, Nourish Scotland, Scotland Excel, South Lanarkshire Council, STUC, Sustain, Sustainable Food Places, The Food Foundation, The Soil Association Scotland, The University of Edinburgh Business School and Zero Waste Scotland. The latter two workshops also resulted in the submission of written consultation responses.

The views at these workshops echoed those provided in the consultation responses. Where themes or issues are discussed in this report, it should be assumed that they emerged both in consultation responses and during the workshops.


Responses to the consultation were submitted using the Scottish Government consultation platform Citizen Space or by email or hard copy.

It should be borne in mind that the number responding at each question is not always the same as the number presented in the respondent group table. This is because not all respondents addressed all questions; some commented only on those questions or sections of relevance to their organisation, sector or field of interest; some opted not to respond to any questions and submitted a 'freeflowing' commentary covering issues of importance to them. The report indicates the number of respondents who commented at each question.

Some of the consultation questions contained closed, tick-boxes. Where respondents did not follow the questions but mentioned within their text that they agreed or disagreed with a point, these have been included in the relevant counts. This information is presented in table format at the relevant questions.

The researchers examined all comments made by respondents and noted the range of issues mentioned in responses, including reasons for opinions, specific examples or explanations, alternative suggestions or other comments. Grouping these issues together into similar themes allowed the researchers to identify whether any particular theme was specific to any particular respondent group or groups.

When looking at group differences however, it must be also borne in mind that where a specific opinion has been identified in relation to a particular group or groups, this does not indicate that other groups did not share this opinion, but rather that they simply did not comment on that particular point.

While the consultation gave all who wished to comment an opportunity to do so, given the self-selecting nature of this type of exercise, any figures quoted here cannot be extrapolated to the wider population outwith the respondent sample. Where comments were made primarily by organisations or individuals, this has been highlighted throughout the report; where no reference is made, it should be assumed that issues were raised by both organisations and individuals.

A small number of verbatim comments, from those who gave permission for their responses to be made public, have been used in the report to illustrate themes or to provide extra detail for some specific points.


Email: local.food.policy@gov.scot

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