Recipe for Success: Scotland's national food and drink policy, becoming a Good Food Nation

Strategy document setting out our proposed national food and drink policy up until 2025.

5. The Story of Success 2: Scotland’s Food & Drink Culture

Recipe for Success aimed to promote Scotland’s sustainable economic growth by ensuring that the Scottish Government’s food and drink policies address quality, health and wellbeing, and environmental sustainability, whilst recognising the need for access and affordable healthy food.

There has been considerable activity since then in all of these areas, including those which relate to our wider food culture as much as to economic growth. A change in food culture will mean changing behaviours and national attitudes toward food.

People throughout Scotland are seeing how their contributions are bringing about this change.

Case study

The West Dunbartonshire pictorial menu initiative

The West Dunbartonshire pictorial menu initiative ensures that pupils with additional support needs across the council’s Early Years Centres and primary and special schools are not disadvantaged in their school meal choices. The project meets a range of local and national objectives around providing personal support for children and young people, and the vision of the health promoting school as outlined in documents such as, Scotland’s National Food and Drink Policy and Getting it Right for Every Child. It ensures that every child has the opportunity to make independent personal choices and has resulted in children showing a greater interest in their food choices.

East Ayrshire Council Food for Life

The impact of school food procurement decisions have been assessed in one local authority, using a Social Return on Investment ( SROI) approach, as providing wider value in terms of health, social benefit and environmental outcomes. The study commissioned by East Ayrshire Council on primary schools working with the Food for Life Catering Mark suggested that, using a set of assumptions, the SROI index was at least 1:3 meaning that every £1 invested returned £3 in social, economic and environmental value. The research also recognised that behavioural change, at a collective and individual level is key to delivering long-term social, economic and environmental benefits.

Chalmers Bakery Reformulation success

In 1956 Chalmers Bakery, a traditional Scottish Bakery, was established in Aberdeenshire. Chalmers Bakery manufactures and sells products including; breads, savouries, and cakes in 12 shops via wholesale. Chalmers Bakery has been part of Scottish Food and Drink Federation’s Scottish Government (Health) Funded Reformulation Programme, which has helped to improve the healthiness of their recipes. One of the reformulated recipes has resulted in the pie shells used for meat pies now containing 56% less salt and 30% less fat. Positive feedback has shown that Chalmers’ customers continue to enjoy these products and this has encouraged the company to proceed with the substitution of the old recipes with the newly reformulated ones.

The Lanarkshire Community Food and Health Partnership

Established 22 years ago, the Lanarkshire Community Food and Health Partnership ( LCF& HP) is a charitable organisation which supports healthier diet initiatives in local communities. LCF& HP sells high quality fresh produce at low cost to individuals, families and communities. The organisation has been running and supplying more than 40 community food co-ops where people have access to high quality food and can receive healthy cooking advice. The partnership supports people in deprived areas to improve health inequalities in relation to the effects of poor diet on health. Within the past year alone 3.5 million portions of fruit and vegetables have been distributed by the partnership. LCF& HP are one of a number of community initiatives across the country who provide immediate, appropriate and constructive responses at the coalface and also inform and inspire others both locally and nationally in a collective effort to deliver a fairer, healthier Scotland.

Taken together, these amount to a great deal of activity and investment.

  • Significant increase in school activity, with the prominent place which food now has in the Curriculum for Excellence is a powerful lever for change.
  • In the last two years, there has been the creation of more than 135,000 individual opportunities for pupils to learn about food; which enabled 8,000 school pupils to visit food and drink industry-related premises; trained over 2,000 teachers to deliver quality food education and generated nearly £1 million of private funding to support these initiatives.
  • Since 2008, the Healthier Scotland Cooking Bus has taught over 164,000 pupils and over 6,500 teachers and community members about healthy cooking practices.
  • The number of caterers with the Food for Life Catering Mark has trebled in the last year. Now, 1 in 3 primary schools in Scotland are certified, ensuring menus offered are fresh, seasonal and better for animal welfare, with progress towards more healthy, local and ethical choices.
  • Scottish Government support contributes to Crofting Connections reaching over 2,500 thousand pupils in 131 schools across the Highlands and Islands. Students and their communities learn about the role of food in shaping their crofting heritage past, present and future, and to make vital connections with health, culture, the environment, and rural economy.
  • The Scottish Government has funded an annual Eat in Season marketing campaign since 2011 which has increased consumer awareness of in-season produce and the benefits of eating seasonal produce (such as taste, value for money, and variety).
  • Since the introduction of the Climate Challenge Fund ( CCF) in 2008, over £19 million has supported 219 projects which include a component of food-related activity. Shettleston Community Growing Project in Glasgow have received CCF grants to run a resident-led initiative to grow locally and improve diets, while raising awareness of food miles, food waste, recycling, and energy consumption.
  • The food and drink supply chain – from the farm or sea to the plate – is one of the most resource and carbon-intensive business sectors in Scotland. Zero Waste Scotland is working closely with Scotland Food and Drink and other industry bodies to design and deliver industry-wide sustainability strategies, encompassing reductions in waste and energy and water use.
  • We are continuing to support Community Food & Health Scotland to deliver community health based initiatives. This has allowed community organisations to deliver food related community projects across all National Health Service ( NHS) board areas in the last year alone.
  • Leading food retailers have committed to reducing household food and drink waste by 5% by 2015 against a 2012 baseline having already helped to reduce household food waste by 3.7% since 2009. The new target, if met, will translate into a 20% reduction in household food waste (2005–2015).
  • Joint investment between Scottish Grocers Federation and the Scottish Government of £1.5 million has led to a growth in sales of fruit and vegetables by up to 6%, often in the most deprived areas of our country.
  • The Scottish Government is funding the Healthy Living Award with £1,690,380 in 2012 to 2014, leading to more than 650 sites with the Award, including 100% of NHS food outlets and all prisons.
  • The Supporting Healthy Choices Voluntary Framework will invite retailers, caterers, food and drink manufacturers and the public sector to take action to encourage and support the Scottish population to make healthier food choices. It has been developed jointly by the Scottish Government and the Food Standards Agency in Scotland.



Telephone: 0300 244 9802

Scottish Government
Food, Drink and Rural Communities
B1 Spur
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
EH11 3XD

Back to top