The Good Food Nation Act in Scotland: weaving together policies for a fair, just and sustainable food system.

The food policy landscape in Scotland is changing.  In the past Scottish food policy has been fragmented, with different pieces of legislation often in tension with each other.  However, the Good Food Nation Act is a new piece of framework legislation which aims to pull together the different pieces of policy to ensure they align and work together. 

Simon Kenton-Lake, Nourish Scotland

Simon Kenton-Lake, Nourish Scotland

Written by Simon-Kenton-Lake, Nourish Scotland

The Act will place statutory duties on Scottish Government, local authorities, and Health Boards to produce systems-level Food Action Plans, each with inclusive and transparent consultation processes, overseen by a new independent Food Commission.

At the heart of the Good Food Nation Act is the recognition that to make lasting and positive change to food in Scotland we must work at a systems level. To do this we must also recognise that different policies can no longer operate in isolation but instead must complement and join up.  In this way we not only ensure best use of resource and minimise duplication but, crucially, avoid working in silos.  

To help understand how some of the most important policies link together, Nourish Scotland have created an interactive policy map.  Visually based on the London Underground, it maps the interconnections between policies, with clickable ‘stations’ detailing the overlaps. The policy map is free to use and is one of many tools and resources that Nourish Scotland have developed to support local authorities and Health Boards to produce GFN food plans. 

You can see this map in more detail here.

Nourish Scotland is the nation lead for Sustainable Food Places (SFP) where there are SFP members in 15 of the 32 local authority areas.  SFP food partnerships bring together key stakeholders from right across the local food system, from the local authority, health boards and public sector establishments to food growers, retailers and the hospitality sector. As such SFP in Scotland believe that food partnerships will be crucial to the development and delivery of meaningful food plans. The 6 Key Issues that underpin the systems approach that all SFP work to also mirror the content of Good Food Nation Plans as laid out in the Good Food Nation (Scotland) Act 2022:


KI 1 Food Governance and Strategy - putting systems in place to foster a strategic and collaborative approach to good food governance and action.

KI 2 Healthy Food for All - tackling food poverty, diet related ill-health and increasing access to affordable healthy food.

KI 3 Catering and Procurement - transforming catering and procurement and revitalizing local and sustainable food supply chains.

KI 4 Good Food Movement - building public awareness, active food citizenship and a local good food movement.

KI 5 Sustainable Food Economy - creating a vibrant, prosperous and diverse food economy.

KI 6 Food for the Planet - tackling the climate and nature emergency through sustainable food and farming, and an end to food waste. This Key Issue runs at the heart of all SFP work.


Good Food Nation Plan scope

KI 2

KI 3

KI 4

KI 5

KI 6

(a) social and economic wellbeing






(b) the environment






(c) health and physical and mental wellbeing






(d) economic development






(e) animal welfare






(f) education






(g) child poverty







This common set of objectives will ensure that the outcomes, targets and indicators set out in the national Good Food Nation Plan aligns with those in local food plans.

Scotland will soon be the first of the UK nations to have a comprehensive systems-led food plan and, if done well, could fundamentally change how we do food, ensuring that everyone has access to good food that is produced in a way that is equitable for people and planet.  However, to realise the ambitious goals of the Good Food Nation Act, national and local food plans will need more than a good map.

Firstly, they will need a vision – a sense of what the Good Food Nation feels, smells and tastes like in different parts of Scotland. The plans will also need a way of measuring progress, looking at available data and filling in data gaps. They will also need a way of harnessing the collective intelligence from right across the food system: from public sector establishments to community organisations, to food growers, retailers and the hospitality sector - not least because it will be these stakeholders that are best placed to deliver on the plans.  

Most importantly, food plans will need to develop and delivered alongside and with communities. Afterall, that’s the reason why we have food policies in the first place.


For more information about Nourish Scotland’s work with local authorities and public bodies please contact Simon Kenton-Lake at


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