Becoming a Good Food Nation: an analysis of consultation responses

Full analysis of responses to the consultation on development of a revised national food and drink policy.


7.1 The Becoming a Good Food Nation discussion paper highlighted the need for 'wholehearted participation from people in all walks of life' if the Good Food Nation vision was to be achieved. Respondents were invited to consider how they, their family, or their organisation would play their part, as follows:

Q13: What steps do you plan to take to help Scotland on the journey toward becoming a Good Food Nation - in the next month and the next 12 months?

7.2 Responses from organisations and individuals were, inevitably, somewhat different, and the chapter looks separately at these two groups. It should be noted that respondents did not generally make a distinction between immediate steps (in the next month) and longer term steps (in the next year) and, indeed, often talked generally about the continuation of ongoing work.


7.3 Organisational respondents typically answered this question by highlighting the array of relevant work already underway, which would be continuing over the short and medium term. This included individual activities with a particular focus but also included many cross-cutting strategic initiatives involving collaborative working between different organisations and sectors.

7.4 Across all sectors, respondents expressed interest in actively supporting and / or influencing the implementation of the Good Food Nation 'project'. At a local level, respondents reported intentions to use the Good Food Nation vision (or any resulting strategy) to raise awareness and stimulate debate in existing forums, to identify opportunities for policy alignment and to consider new actions to support, or capitalise on, the vision. Respondents frequently expressed a desire to work with government and other agencies in developing the agenda. For some this included noting interest in contributing to the work of the Food Commission or any work streams established to take the agenda forward.

7.5 Some of the more specific activity reported in each sector is summarised below.

Public sector

7.6 For local authorities and other public sector organisations with a cross-cutting interest, ongoing work highlighted by respondents included exploring options to include food within the school curriculum; improving the quality of school meals, NHS food and other public sector catering and working with local suppliers in doing this; working towards the achievement of catering awards (e.g., Healthy Living and Food for Life awards); supporting community food and health projects (e.g., the establishment of food hubs, and growing and cooking projects); exploring options for providing more growing space; and the development of food champions.

7.7 Cross-cutting strategic initiatives with a food and drink focus included those at local level like the Angus Council Framework for Food and Drink and the Fife Food and Health Strategy Group. However, a number of local authorities were also involved in national projects, the most significant being Food for Life Scotland ( FFLS) led by the Soil Association. For some this had meant achieving the Food for Life catering awards; others were piloting the FFLS Education Framework (e.g., Stirling and Edinburgh); while both Edinburgh and Glasgow were taking steps in following the Sustainable Food Cities model, working in partnership with other local bodies.

7.8 Local authorities and other public bodies also drew attention to more generic strategic work which was already supporting progress towards the Good Food Nation aspiration. Examples here included the Cairngorms Park Economic Development and Diversification Strategy; the Dumfries and Galloway Regional Economic Strategy; the Fife Tourism Partnership; and the Angus Council International Framework. More generally, some respondents noted the Single Outcome Agreement as an existing vehicle that would help deliver the Good Food Nation vision.

7.9 Research and academic institutions indicated that they would continue to work with partners (other public sector bodies, the food and drink industry) on developing the evidence base, supporting innovation and sharing good practice, and participating in a range of knowledge exchange opportunities.

7.10 There were also sector-specific initiatives such as the Year of Food and Drink and Taste Our Best in the tourism and hospitality sectors, and the Healthy Living Scheme and Supporting Healthy Choices framework in the public health arena which were cited as supporting the Good Food Nation vision.

Third sector

7.11 Third sector organisations were also involved in a range of ongoing projects, in collaboration with partners across all sectors, aligned to their particular interests: allotments; community gardens; cookery projects; educational projects with schools; improving food for older people etc. These would be continued or further developed over the coming year.

7.12 Continued collaborative activity was a major theme for the third sector in looking forward, whether on initiatives such as FFLS, or on individual local projects. This also included developing and disseminating evidence and sharing good practice (e.g., in relation to the Fife School Food Project). Working with local authorities, community planning partnerships and the Scottish Government were all cited; however, alongside this collaborative work, third sector groups also planned to continue campaigning and lobbying at different levels (ranging from local authority level to the EU) in order to promote their interests.

7.13 Future plans also included making use of opportunities presented by the Scotland Rural Development Fund, the Community Empowerment Bill (should it be enacted) and the Year of Food and Drink.

Private sector / food producers

7.14 Amongst those with a commercial interest in the food and drink industry, future plans included an increased focus on quality food and sustainable working methods; further diversification; developing links with communities; and participation in initiatives such as the Year of Food and Drink.


7.15 Steps planned by individual respondents most often focused on changing their own behaviours related to food choices: i.e., the growing, buying, preparation and consumption of food. Typically, respondents said they would:

  • make dietary changes (e.g., more fruit, vegetables and pulses, less red meat)
  • buy more local produce
  • cook more food from scratch
  • buy more organic food
  • grow more of their own food in gardens or allotments
  • use small retailers, farmers markets etc.
  • reduce food waste
  • educate their family (e.g., teach their children shopping and cooking skills)
  • get involved in working with local groups, or set up new groups (e.g., community gardens or cooking classes)
  • get involved in promotion, campaigning and lobbying, including joining groups such as Nourish Scotland
  • increase their physical activity

7.16 Some also talked about taking steps to influence the behaviours of others; for example, enthusing others about good food; trying to persuade friends to make changes in their food behaviours; helping others find land for growing; sharing information on social media; working with (or lobbying) local and national government, community planning partnerships etc.

7.17 A number of respondents provided information on things they already did which were in line with the Good Food Nation vision: growing fruit and vegetables, buying locally, buying organic or Fair Trade food, eating fresh and healthy, sustainably produced food, using vegi-box schemes and farmers markets, cooking family meals etc. Others were involved in relevant community and interest groups.

7.18 Some respondents referred to their professional roles, with the range of roles giving rise to a necessarily diverse range of 'steps', including the following:

  • Creative arts and the media: One respondent had written a book about food (and was keen for this to be read by the Good Food Nation Team); another planned to use her story-telling work as a way of conveying a 'good food' message; another was keen to spread the word through journalism.
  • Health and education: Several respondents worked in health and education, and would be involved in promoting diet / physical activity advice through their roles as health visitors, nutritionists etc.; or promoting the Good Food Nation message to children / other groups via education and training.
  • Food projects: Those involved in this area talked of further developing local food projects and initiatives in the short and medium term.
  • Food businesses: Respondents noted plans to increase diversity in food-related business (e.g., café developments at existing farms) or to set up new food-related businesses.

7.19 Several respondents in a range of individual and professional capacities referred to keeping up to date with the debate, contributing to policy discussions and developments related to food and drink, and looking for opportunities to get more involved (including expressing interest in getting involved in the new Food Commission). A small number had an interest in, or were already pursuing, research in the broad food policy area which would contribute to the Good Food Nation debate.

Building on existing foundations

7.20 The responses from both individuals and organisations provided evidence of a wide range of activity already underway that could be seen as making a contribution to becoming a Good Food Nation; it confirms that, for many, this is not the start of a journey. Looking ahead, organisations indicated plans to continue existing work, or to start new initiatives, while individuals cited a range of lifestyle changes which they would make representing small, but important, steps in becoming a Good Food Nation.

7.21 There was substantial comment about the good practice that was thought to already exist in relation to developing a Good Food Nation. Indeed it was thought that there were many extant programmes and initiatives that could provide exemplar approaches for further development and roll out.

7.22 Respondents presented positive accounts of a wide range of initiatives, both national and local, operating in and across different sectors: Examples, indicating the wide range of current work, included:

  • Local projects such as Fife Diet
  • The work of national voluntary organisations such as Fareshare
  • The Scottish Grocers' Federation Healthy Living Programme
  • Soil Association partnership projects like the Sustainable Cities Network
  • Scottish Development International's work with the food and drink sector
  • The Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement on packaging and waste

7.23 The information provided shows a positive level of commitment to becoming a Good Food Nation. While this is likely to reflect the self-selecting nature of the respondents, it nevertheless provides an insight into the ongoing work that will help deliver the Good Food Nation vision.



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Food, Drink and Rural Communities
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