Good Food Nation proposals for legislation: analysis of consultation responses

Analysis of responses to the Good Food Nation Proposals for Legislation consultation.



1. 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 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 this sector.

2. 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 stress 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. Subsequent work has included many initiatives including funding for community schemes to promote healthy food initiatives and the introduction of a National Chef. The Scottish Government's Programme for Government (2017-18) included a commitment to consult on the proposals for a Good Food Nation Bill.

3. In September 2018, the Scottish Government published its 'Good Food Nation Programme of Measures'. This document confirmed the Scottish Government's commitment to Scotland becoming a Good Food Nation where Scottish people have improved access to, and understanding of, the benefits of healthy local foods. While it was felt that legislation was not essential to delivering action and achieving the aims, the Scottish Government undertook to consult on proposals for legislation that could help to underpin the significant work undertaken in terms of key measures and activity.

4. The focus of legislation could be a clear framework that placed responsibilities on Scottish Ministers and specified public bodies to provide a lead on the delivery of the Good Food Nation policy. The likelihood was that the detail of any general framework principles would be set out in primary legislation, although detailed provisions would be contained in secondary legislation.

5. The Scottish Government was keen to gather views on their proposals for a legislative framework and a consultation on Good Food Nation Proposals for Legislation was launched on 21 December 2018 asking for views on the means to achieve outcomes in relation to Good Food Nation, through legislation. The consultation closed on 18 April 2019.

Respondent Profile

6. A total of 1,360 responses were received. After checking for blank responses, duplicates and campaign responses, this resulted in a total of 802 individuals and organisations who responded directly to the consultation: 22% (175) from organisations and 78% (627) from individuals. These are referred to as 'consultation responses' in the main body of this report. Those who responded as part of a campaign are referred to as 'campaign respondents'.

7. There were two campaigns submitted to this consultation. One was a campaign initiated by the Trussell Trust, using standard text, and this attracted 40 submissions. Another campaign, initiated by the Scottish Food Coalition (SFC) attracted 457 submissions; while this contained standard text, respondents also opted to provide additional text of their own, covering a wide range of issues. Additionally, the analysis identified two further campaign responses, although it was not possible to identify the sources of these; one campaign attracted 63 responses; the other ten responses. None of the campaigns directly answered the questions in the consultation but where possible or relevant, the findings are reported in the main body of this report. Together, these campaigns accounted for 42% of all responses to this consultation.

8. One organisation conducted a survey among its members and 93 individuals, from 10 Scottish local authorities, responded.

9. 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.

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

11. The following table shows the numbers of responses in each analysis sub-group. The largest organisation sub-group with 35 respondents was third sector (non-food), followed by food / food retail / producer / distributor (17 respondents), representative body / trade union (16 respondents), local authorities (16 respondents), third sector (food) (16 respondents); there were smaller numbers in other sub-groups.

Respondent Groups

Campaigning / advocacy 13
Community group 10
Faith group 10
Food / food retail / producer / distributor 17
NHS / Health 12
Local authority 16
Representative body / Trade Union 16
Third sector (food) 16
Third sector (not food) 35
Education / Academic / Research 14
Other 16
Total organisations 175
Individuals 627
Total respondents 802


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

13. 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.

  • 14. The consultation questions contained closed, tick-boxes with options for 'agree strongly, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree and disagree strongly'. Respondents were invited to explain their answers. 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.
  • 15. 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.

    16. 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.

    17. 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.

    18. 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.



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