Allotments and Community Growing
Scottish Government funding supports a number of community growing organisations, in line with our two overarching policy objectives to increase the amount of land available for community food growing, allotments and orchards; and to improve food growing skills and knowledge to empower communities and individuals to grow their own food.
In 2021/22 we have provided:
- £30,000 to Trellis, a national organisation for therapeutic gardening: it provides support for over 480 projects which in turn help over 12,000 people to improve their wellbeing through growing produce. Trellis work with disadvantaged demographics and in 2021/22 they will particularly focus their efforts on projects with the care sector;
- £37,000 of funding to Social Farms & Gardens, and organisation which supports, represents and promotes community-managed farms, gardens, allotments and other green spaces. The organisation has a membership of over 300 community growing organisations who help to improve the lives of thousands of people across the country. Around 50% of the members are located in areas classified as Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 1 and 2;
- £20,000 to GreenGrow Scotland, a new charitable organisation which aims to promote the health, wellbeing, social connections, climate and nature action and economic opportunities associated with growing food, and a local food system by supporting grassroots community growing projects;
- £100,000 to the Green Action Trust to promote the growth and delivery of community growing spaces across Scotland by offering funding for up to fifteen community growing projects through the Growing Food Together Fund.
This funding supports projects that contribute towards achieving a variety of Scottish Government National Outcomes in a range of cross-cutting areas, including environment, education, culture and health.
Food Standards Scotland have published an online dietary guidance resource, EatWellYourWay.scot, which delivers evidence-based dietary advice, to help people in Scotland make healthier food and drink choices, one step at a time.
The advice in Eat Well, Your Way is based on the Eatwell Guide. Research from The Carbon Trust has shown that if people consumed a diet more similar to the Eatwell Guide this would be a healthier and more sustainable way of eating. These effects come from a reduction in dairy, meat and discretionary foods, plus an increase in some starchy foods, fish and fruit & vegetables. Eat Well, Your Way currently includes some messaging targeted at making healthier, sustainable choices and the resource will continue to be developed in this way.
NB FSS will run a nationwide, multimedia promotional campaign for Eat Well, Your Way from 21 Feb to 31 Mar 2022.
The Healthcare Retail Standard
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.
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.
These new criteria have now been incorporated into the HealthCare Retail Standard.
Healthy Living Programme
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.
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 materials and have fruit available for sale at checkouts.
The Healthy Living Programme’s Big Breakfast and Healthy Living Day events address the link between the local convenience shop and the wider community and how we can help children and adults to buy healthier products. An increase in cooking from home during the pandemic has been supported by the programme through its ‘Cooking with Wellby’ campaign.
Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) Reformulation
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.
We have invested £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.
In 2021/22 we are investing an additional £105,000 to continue the reformulation project.
Food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt
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 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.
The Bill was paused to take account of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and consumers. In the 2021/22 Programme for Government, the Scottish Government set out that we will introduce a Public Health Bill that includes restrictions on unhealthier food and drink promotions in this Parliament. We intend to consult again in the spring to help us consider the impacts of EU exit and the COVID-19 pandemic on our proposals, as well as explore potential opportunities for alignment across the UK.
Out of home food strategy
The Scottish Government’s Out of Home Action Plan was published in September 2021. Actions set out there include:
- A consultation on mandatory calorie labelling at the point of choice;
- A code of practice for children’s menus;
- A new Eating Out, Eating Well Framework;
- A standardised format for voluntary provision of full nutrition information online and/or on printed material; and
- Coherence on wider food policy through the Ministerial Group on Food.
Our consultation on introducing mandatory calorie labelling is due for publication in Spring 2022.
School Food and Drink Regulations
The new Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations 2020 were commenced in April 2021, replacing the previous 2008 Regulations. Changes include:
- increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables offered to children and young people as part of the school day;
- bringing red and red processed meat provision in line with the recommendations set out in the Scottish Dietary Goals;
- significantly reducing the amount of sugar children and young people can access through the school day.
The updated Healthy Eating in Schools guidance, which supports implementation of the Regulations, was published in February 2021.
Food For Life
The Food For Life Scotland programme aims to increase the amount of healthy, locally sourced food served by local authorities in early years settings, schools and care homes and currently operates in 18 Scottish local authorities, with Moray being the latest to achieve accreditation in January 2022. Our funding supports a small team within the Soil Association to deliver the programme on our behalf, with a clear aim of stimulating more local sourcing through the accreditation process; the overarching objectives are:
- Work with local authorities to retain their current Food for Life Served Here (FFLSH) award; and trying to shift those accredited to Bronze up to Silver or Gold;
- Work with those local authorities not yet participating to introduce the Food for Life programme within their area.
As well as aiming to put more Scottish food on the table, the wider benefits include: educating young people about food and culture, reassuring parents and pupils that their school meals are responsibly sourced, and freshly prepared with trained cooks, promoting fresh, local and seasonal food, ensuring that at least 75% is fresh and unprocessed and improving pupils’ health by putting more fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, and wholegrains on the menu and generally ensuring that menus meet or exceed the Scotland’s statutory food and nutrition standards.
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