Overall, respondents were supportive of the proposals included in the consultation document – with the exception of the proposal to link the eligibility of children's vitamins to Best Start Foods, where a majority of respondents felt they should be provided universally.
No significant differences were observed between the positions of individuals and organisations, or between those of different types of organisations.
The responses point to areas that could be explored further by the Scottish Government. These include:
- How to involve frontline staff and retailers – both are seen as key points of contact with families – in both promoting awareness of Best Start Foods and supporting families establish healthy eating habits
- How to include retailers without card payment facilities in the smartcard system
- How to coordinate existing campaigns and projects aimed at supporting families to establish healthy eating habits
- The details of the proposed milk and healthy snack provision in funded ELC provision – in terms of the characteristics of the provision ( e.g. timing and guidance) as well as its funding
- The merits and drawbacks of the three main options proposed to provide milk and healthy snacks outwith funded ELC provision.
A common theme that was observed across responses was the wish by different respondent categories to be involved in further conversations around these issues. These include, particularly, childcare providers, local authorities, retailers and third sector or community organisations. Many respondents explicitly offered their support in the future development of these proposals.
Another common theme was the possibilities offered by technology and how to best harness them. The move from paper vouchers to a smartcard was seen very positively by respondents. Social media and smartphone technology also featured prominently in responses – as a way of engaging parents and families, collecting feedback and impact data, or even as a means to make Best Start Foods payments.