Good Food Nation - programme of measures: 2019 update

A report on the progress made on Scotland's Good Food Nation ambitions.

1. Health


The vision is for everyone in Scotland to have ready access to the healthy, nutritious food they need, with dietary-related diseases like heart disease and diabetes in decline. This is what the population deserve in a country which produces such high quality food in abundance.

Highlighted Health measures setting out action we have taken to achieve the vision since 2018:

The Healthcare Retail Standard

2018 position: The Healthcare Retail Standard sets criteria where 50% of food and 70% of drink sold in all NHS Scotland shops is 'healthy' and only certain items can be promoted. We committed to a full evaluation of the initial roll-out of the Healthcare Retail Standard in 2018.

2019 update: The evaluation report[1] of the initial roll-out was published in January 2019.

The evaluation report found that initially there was a limited range of products available which met the 'healthy' criteria but over time suppliers amended the unhealthier elements of their products which increased the range of products which complied with the Healthcare Retail Standard.

Following introduction of the Healthcare Retail Standard, it was found that customers were buying more products which met the Healthcare Retail Standard 'healthy' criteria.

The evaluation and first year of the HRS have informed a change in criteria, including:

  • A ban on energy drink sales to under 16s;
  • Healthy criteria for baby food;
  • Relaxation on promotions for sugar-free chewing gum.

Healthyliving Award

2018 position: The Healthyliving Award is a national award for the foodservice sector in Scotland. Our plans for the Healthyliving Award are closely linked to an Out of Home 2018 consultation which asked tough questions of the role of schemes such as the Healthyliving Award, including how to use the Healthyliving Award most effectively and in what out of home settings.

2019 update: Food Standards Scotland's 2018 Out of Home consultation led to the identification of a range of measures which will inform the forthcoming Out of Home Strategy for Scotland. The recommended measures include:

  • Mandatory calorie labelling at the point of choice, including when buying food 'on the go' and when ordering a takeaway / home delivery;
  • Improving the range of healthy food and drink choices available on children's menus;
  • Setting a mandatory standard for healthier food in the public sector.

Healthy Living Programme

2018 position: The Healthy Living Programme is a voluntary scheme run in over 2,200 convenience stores through the Scottish Grocers Federation since 2006. The scheme helps to promote healthier produce in the stores.

2019 update: The Healthy Living Programme now has over 2,300 members which constitutes around 40% of the convenience trade in Scotland. Two-thirds of the stores are situated in the most deprived areas of Scotland. The stores participating in the Healthy Living Programme continue to use Eat Better Feel Better[2] materials and have fruit available for sale at checkouts.

Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) Reformulation

2018 position: In partnership with the Food and Drink Federation Scotland, we planned in autumn 2018 to introduce practical support to help businesses to get expert advice on reformulating food and drink to lower the calorie content.

2019 update: We are investing £200,000 over a three-year period from 2018/19 to support Scottish small and medium enterprises to reformulate commonly consumed products to lower the calorie content.

School food and drink regulations

2018 position: The Scottish Government consulted in 2018 on the recommendations of the review of school food and drink regulations. Consultation findings will inform the revised Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations 2008 and associated guidance.

2019 update: The analysis report[3] of responses to the consultation on the recommendations of the review of school food and drink regulations was published in June 2019, receiving over 1,300 responses.

Work is now underway to amend the school food and drink regulations with implementation of the new regulations in the autumn of 2020.

The Healthy Eating in Schools guidance will be updated to take account of the changes to these regulations.

New support for community Grow Your Own opportunities in disadvantaged areas

2018 position: Our intention is to provide new financial support for local authorities and community groups for the establishment of community growing facilities, particularly in areas of social deprivation around Scotland. We will set up a Community Growing Fund of £80,000 for this purpose.

2019 update: The Community Growing Fund launched February 2019. Grant awards have been made to 30 third sector organisations, community bodies or public sector organisations such as primary schools for a wide range of community growing projects.

One funded project, the Langholm Initiative, is featured in the case study overleaf.

The funded projects[4] are required to complete their funded projects by March 2020.

Case Study – Community Growing Fund – The Langholm Initiative

The Community Growing Fund opened to applications from 28th February to 31st March 2019. The grant scheme was open to third sector organisations, community groups and public sector organisations such as schools.

Grant funding was available for a wide variety of purposes, including the purchase and building of raised beds, poly tunnels and other cultivation facilities, the purchase or lease of tools and equipment and the purchase of top soil and plant stock.

Applications were scored on a range of criteria, including how the project would meet the four Good Food Nation objectives, the number of people to benefit from the project and whether the project is located in an area of social deprivation.

A total of 30 applications were awarded a grant, up to a maximum of £3,000.

The Langholm Initiative, Dumfries & Galloway, was one of the successful applicants to the Community Growing Fund. The Langholm Initiative, in partnership with the Langholm Chilli Club, was awarded grant funding to purchase two poly tunnels and associated materials for use by the local community. The poly tunnels are being erected on previously redundant areas of land, and so bringing the land back into productive use.

By using the poly tunnels primarily to grow chilli plants, the project provides many benefits to the local community including lessons in horticulture, the promotion of and access to healthy foods, cooking demonstrations and reducing the carbon footprint and food miles for the chilli fruits grown and consumed locally.

Food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt

2018 position: Scottish Government will consult this autumn to restrict the promotion and marketing of targeted food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt.

2019 update: A consultation on proposals for restrictions on the promotion and marketing of food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt where they are sold to the public closed in January 2019. The consultation analysis report[5] was published on 13 September 2019.

In the 2019/20 Programme for Government, we committed to introducing a Restricting Foods Promotions Bill in the 2020/21 legislative programme.

Food For Life Programme

2018 position: The Food For Life Programme is operating across 11 local authority areas in Scotland, supporting the provision of more locally sourced, healthier food being served throughout the local schools.

2019 update: Two more local authorities have now achieved the Food For Life Served Here award for their school meals, with 13 local authority areas now participating in the scheme. 19 million Food For Life Served Here meals are now being served by these local authorities every year.

Non-broadcast advertising of junk food

2018 position: Scottish Government will protect children with action to extend current restrictions for non-broadcast advertising of junk food.

2019 update: Initial discussions have been held to develop a pilot programme to test a ban of junk food advertising on billboards. Financial and health impacts will be considered during this pilot.

Alcohol and tobacco strategies

2018 position: Scottish Government has ground-breaking strategies on alcohol and tobacco.

2019 update: We have published several frameworks and strategies to take steps to address alcohol and tobacco consumption, featured in our case study overleaf.

Case Study – Alcohol and tobacco strategies

We have taken a range of actions on alcohol :

Our Alcohol Framework contains 20 priority actions to tackle Scotland's alcohol-related harm including:

  • A forthcoming consultation on alcohol marketing restrictions to protect children and young people;
  • Pressing the UK Government for a 9pm watershed on TV alcohol advertising and cinema advertising restrictions;
  • Evaluating minimum unit pricing and reviewing the price after 1 May 2020; and
  • Developing a new social marketing campaign promoting the alcohol low-risk guidelines of 14 units per week
  • Our new Count 14 campaign began in March 2019.

Our action plan on tobacco control includes:

  • Consultations on introducing offences for smoking around hospital buildings; and
  • Banning advertising and promotion of electronic cigarettes.

The consultations will run from September 2019 to March 2020, leading to secondary legislation in the first half of 2020.

Tobacco control marketing campaigns will run in early 2020 on stop-smoking services and about the new laws banning smoking around hospitals.

Our new alcohol and drugs strategy was published November 2018, and sets out our range of investment and support for those affected by alcohol use. The action plan is currently in development with stakeholders.

Out of home food strategy

2018 position: Food Standards Scotland will consult this autumn on an overarching Out of Home strategy which will include measures to reduce calories and proposals for calorie labelling.

2019 update: Following its consultation Proposals to improve the Out of Home environment in Scotland[9], the Food Standards Scotland Board agreed a set of proposals in August 2019 for an Out of Home strategy and will be advising Ministers in due course. The FSS Board paper can be accessed here[10]. In support of the Board paper FSS has also published:

Support for breastfeeding

2018 position: We aim to reduce breastfeeding attrition rates and improve the quality of support for breastfeeding mothers, particularly in the days immediately following birth.

2019 update: Additional funding of more than £2m has been provided to Health Boards and third sector partners to support breastfeeding. We aim to increase the duration of breastfeeding and improve the breastfeeding experience for women to meet the commitment in the Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan[14] to reduce the drop off in breastfeeding rates at the six to eight week point by 10% by 2025.

On 1 June 2019, we launched the new national Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland scheme which will support our aim to positively influence attitudes to breastfeeding in Scotland.

Best Start foods in Scotland

2018 position: Changes to Welfare Foods in Scotland will include replacing Healthy Start Vouchers with a new Best Start Foods smartcard, increasing payments, expanding the range of eligible foods available and simplifying the application process. The changes will come into force in summer 2019.

2019 update: Best Start Foods Payment Card to support expectant mothers and families on low income benefits with children under 3 years of age launched on 12 August 2019.

The payment card enables the family to purchase foods such as milk (including 1st infant formula), eggs, fruit, vegetables and pulses in either fresh, frozen or dried format. The card can be used in any grocery store that has access to a mastercard payment card facility.

Families who might be entitled to best start foods should apply via this link[15].

Allotments and community growing

2018 position: We are working with partners including the Central Scotland Green Network to increase allotment and community growing opportunities in Scotland.

2019 update: 7 community growing projects in 2019/20[16] are being supported through the Central Scotland Green Network across the central belt of Scotland totalling £113,000.

Photo courtesy of Steve Tolson

Allotments legislation implementation

2018 position: Part 9 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 came into force on 1 April 2018. Amongst other things, this requires all local authorities to publish their food-growing strategies by 1 April 2020

2019 update: Two tranches of statutory guidance to assist local authorities to carry out their duties under Part 9 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 for local authorities have been published in November 2018[17] and June 2019[18], and a workshop[19] took place in November 2018 to assist local authorities in developing their food-growing strategies.



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