The Scottish Government is developing the national Good Food Nation Plan. This is a requirement of the Good Food Nation (Scotland) Act 2022, which was passed in Summer 2022. This Good Food Nation Plan is intended to set out the Scottish Government’s goals for food policy and how it intends to achieve them.
Our food system is a source of incredible success: the Scottish food and drink sector generates turnover of around £15 billion per annum, and exports of Scottish food and drink were valued at £8.1 billion in 2022. Our fantastic food industry provides employment from the local farmers' market to the export of Scotland's finest produce across the globe. This success contributes positively to the wellbeing of the food and drink workforce, while also making it easier for the population to access healthy food options. Food enables a healthy population to enjoy life to its fullest. Our establishment of the Good Food Nation body of work recognises this and the importance of Scotland’s food and drink sector not only to our economy, but also to our culture, heritage, and society.
Food is fundamental to everything we do, but it can be taken for granted and the supply chain that produces it is sometimes overlooked. Whilst there is much to celebrate in our food system, there are also challenges that we must meet head-on: our food system and the people who work in the food sector need and deserve stewardship and care. A key aim of our work to be a Good Food Nation is to shift the dial so people can make healthier choices in what they eat.
We know that many households in Scotland experience food insecurity on a regular basis or are intermittently worried about being able to access food. Diet-related ill health is also more pervasive in communities experiencing deprivation. In striving to achieve our Good Food Nation ambitions we must do so for all communities and leave no one behind. Reducing socio-economic and other inequalities is part of being a Good Food Nation. When creating future food policy to align with the overarching outcomes set out in this plan, consideration of such inequalities needs to be a key focus to avoid unintended consequences.
The Scottish Government is already taking action to reduce inequality; provide greater food resilience and security; enable healthy and local food choices; and support our food and drink sector, all while working towards our net zero goals. However, making important and necessary long-term changes to our food system and achieving ambitious food-related goals will take time. As things stand, the Scottish Government does not have full control of all the levers that can be used to influence all aspects of the food system and people’s ability to access healthier food. The impact of Brexit has also been significant: as the UK now sits outwith the EU it is required to conduct its own trade negotiations. Scotland’s ability to influence its food system is thus further limited by the fact that we are not represented in our own right at these international-level discussions and negotiations.
An independent Scotland would have full control over all the levers and resources linked to food policy, which would have a material effect on what we can achieve and how quickly. We are publishing a series of papers on the subject of Building A New Scotland: these papers form our prospectus for an independent Scotland and set out many issues linked to food.
This first Good Food Nation Plan represents how the Scottish Government intends to use the powers and levers we do have to work collectively with people, communities, businesses, agencies and organisations to meet our Good Food Nation ambitions.
The first draft national Good Food Nation Plan sets out the following:
Part One outlines the history of the Good Food Nation in Scotland and highlights how the plan will take effect. This part does not form part of this consultation, but it provides relevant background information.
Part Two proposes a set of six national Good Food Nation Outcomes, and sets out how they were developed and how progress will be measured. We will ask you questions about the Outcomes as well as the measures.
Part Three highlights how working mechanisms within government will change, and presents some of the key food related policies that are currently under way. It also presents what life would be like for different groups of people under a Good Food Nation. We are particularly interested in understanding if we have captured correctly what life should be like in a Good Food Nation.
This consultation seeks views on all three Parts of the draft national Plan, and we hope you and others will take part. As part of this consultation we are also seeking views on specified functions, which will be defined in secondary legislation. Specified functions are very important as it is when Scottish Ministers are exercising these functions that the plan will take effect. Questions on specified functions will be asked after the section on the national Good Food Nation Plan. You can choose to respond to some or all of these questions.
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