Recipe For Success: Scotland's national food and drink policy

National food and drink policy published in 2009.

Food education: Learning about our food from plough to plate

"Food education is really important to this country's future. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to re-connect the people of Scotland with Scotland's food production."
Susie McIntyre, Managing Director, Kettle Produce Ltd

Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop and Public Health Minister Shona Robison, at the healthier cooking bus launch.
Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop and Public Health Minister Shona Robison, at the healthier cooking bus launch.

Some of our children do not understand how their food is produced, how it is cooked, what is healthy and how it effects their long-term health and wider environment. An increasing proportion of our children are of an unhealthy weight which in many instances is related to poor diet and will lead to future health problems.

We are addressing these issues. We are one of the first nations to focus on the importance of diet and health promotion in schools and to have brought coherence and integration to a range of food and health issues linking to the economy, health and the environment.

There are a number of organisations which support links between schools and food production. However, this resource can be patchy, and the link between adult education and food production needs to be further explored.

Our action on skills for the food and drink industry is set out in the section on supporting the growth of our food and drink industry.

What we have done

Curriculum for Excellence, along with guidance on the Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act 2007, describes the expectations on individuals, schools and local authorities for promoting the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Among other things, pupils are learning about healthy eating and creating healthy food options and developing an awareness of various issues about food, including sourcing and production and its environmental impact. Pupils are also exploring issues such as the pressures placed on them by food advertisers and the political debate that surrounds food and health today.

We launched the Healthier Scotland Cooking Bus in June 2008 to encourage a greater understanding of food and health issues by teaching healthy, practical cooking skills to pupils and teachers and their local communities across Scotland. The cooking bus has been used by over 2000 children and almost 300 teachers in the last 8 months. We have also taken action to build on the achievements of 'Hungry for Success' and introduced new nutritional requirements for all food and drink provided in schools which will make an important contribution to improving the health and diet of our children and young people.

We funded the Royal Highland Education Trust with £60,000 over 2 years to aid their work to help children learn more about how their food is grown, where it comes from and how it affects their health.

Richard Lochhead makes an award at the Royal Highland Show 2008.
Richard Lochhead makes an award at the Royal Highland Show 2008.

Next steps

  • Promote food education in schools through the implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence, the Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition (Scotland) Act and Eco-Schools Scotland.
  • Explore with relevant stakeholders the potential for partnership opportunities to support cookery skills education in schools and for adults using healthy sustainable food.
  • Following the recent consultation on the Next Generation of National Qualifications in Scotland, we will review with SQA all qualifications, including those in food-related subjects, updating them to reflect the values, purposes and principles of Curriculum for Excellence.
  • Support, through Scottish Natural Heritage, the Royal Highland Educational Trust, with a grant of just under £200,000 for activity from 2009 to 2012.



Telephone: 0300 244 9802

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

Back to top