I am delighted to introduce this discussion document on the next stage of Recipe for Success, Scotland’s first National Food and Drink Policy.
Since Recipe for Success, our food and drink industry has taken great strides forward. We’ve seen unprecedented economic growth in the sector. Targets on turnover and exports have been smashed years early. This success has been coupled with an increasing interest in local food and a growing desire amongst consumers to know where their food comes from. People at home and abroad are recognising more and more that food and drink from Scotland stands for quality.
This is not surprising given the beautiful unspoilt landscapes, clear air and pristine waters that our produce comes from and the dedication and skill of those who are engaged in the sector. As I travel the length and breadth of Scotland I am always impressed by the commitment of everyone in the sector to producing food and drink of the highest quality that meets the needs of consumers.
But I am also struck by the paradox that, alongside this fantastic larder, Scotland continues to have an uneasy relationship with food. We have one of the poorest diet-related health records globally; we waste a fifth of the food we buy and we remain disconnected from where our food comes from and how it is produced. In short, there is work to do to improve our food culture if we are to become the kind of nation we aspire to be.
That is why we must build on the successes of Recipe for Success and tackle head-on these areas of unfinished business. In this document we commit ourselves to doing just that, setting out our aspiration that Scotland should become a Good Food Nation where it is second nature to serve, sell and eat fresh, healthy food. We also describe the Scottish Food Commission we are establishing to advocate the importance of food and drink to Scotland’s health, environment, economy and quality of life.
This new aspiration for Scotland comes in a historic year for our country. With the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and Homecoming, 2014 is putting Scotland on the map as never before. The referendum in September will give the people of Scotland the chance to choose a new future. Delivering the aspirations set out in this document will be much easier with the full powers of an independent state.
But our plans also go well beyond this autumn. Our aspirations as set out in our proposed vision will take at least a generation to deliver and will need the support of everyone in Scotland.
I am delighted that we are setting out on this journey towards
being a Good Food Nation.
I invite you all to join us on the journey, each of us playing our part to the full.
By 2025, people from every walk of life, will take pride and pleasure in the food served day by day in Scotland. An increase in Scottish food exports will attract overseas visitors and the quality of the food we serve will become one of the key reasons to travel to Scotland. Everyone will know what constitutes good food and why. All players in Scottish life – from schools to hospitals, retailers, restaurants and food manufacturers – will be committed to serving such food. Its ready availability will have contributed to improvements in children’s wellbeing and hence outcomes. Scottish suppliers will have developed their offering so that local increasingly equals fresh, healthy and environmentally sound. The most intractable dietary-related diseases will have begun to decline as will the environmental impact locally and world-wide, of our food consumption. The food industry will be a thriving well-known feature of local and national economies, with each part of Scotland rightly proud of its culinary heritage, past and present.
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Food, Drink and Rural Communities