This Government remains absolutely committed to the concept and reality of Scotland as a Good Food Nation. Indeed, we are well on our way to becoming a Good Food Nation and as set out in our Programme for Government, this document draws together for the first time a Programme of Measures highlighting the many different activities which we are doing, or plan to do, to further our vision and aims as a Good Food Nation.
Work is being led by Scottish Ministers right across Government to make Scotland a Good Food Nation. Much is already happening that is making a real and positive difference to the lives of the people of Scotland; helping to improve their access to, and understanding of, the benefits of healthy local foods; ensuring sustainability of our wonderful food industry; and looking to grow Scotland's reputation as a Good Food Nation from which other countries can learn.
We are taking action, for example, to encourage more people to eat well and achieve a healthy weight; to support the provenance and diversity of our food sector; to educate our children about food and ensure no child grows up without having access to good food; to reduce our food waste levels; to create more opportunities for local produce to feature on menus across Scotland and elsewhere; and to support the inclusive growth of our already successful food and drink sector.
We want to do more, so the Programme also sets out a number of specific new proposals that we are planning to implement in this Parliament.
But there is no avoiding the fact that circumstances have changed since we set out our vision to be a Good Food Nation in 2014. While we cannot allow the uncertainty caused by Brexit to curtail our ambitions or halt Scotland's progress, we also cannot ignore its potential disruption in key areas like the sustainability, quality and availability of good food. Accordingly, we should review our vision and aims to ensure that we are capturing all priorities. We will also consider how best to evidence this activity to determine what works.
As this Programme clearly demonstrates, legislation is not essential to delivering action and is not the only way in which Good Food Nation ambitions can be achieved. But legislation may help to underpin key measures and activity. This Programme therefore makes clear our commitment to publish a separate consultation this autumn on how best to create and deliver an appropriate statutory framework.
A huge number of people have already contributed to the progress we have made towards becoming a Good Food Nation. I want to thank them, particularly the Scottish Food Commissioners who offered their time and expertise to develop recommendations for Government to consider. Their contribution was hugely appreciated.
We must build on this progress to continue to grow and develop as a Good Food Nation of which we can all be proud.
Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy
11 September 2018