A SCOTTISH minister has said he hopes the Government’s new Good Food Nation Plan will “increase awareness and profile” of Scotland’s food produce and culture.

Speaking at the launch of the Good Food Nation Plan consultation, Richard Lochhead MSP laid out the overarching outcomes of the flagship legislation passed in 2022.

Under the Act, Scottish ministers are required to produce a national Good Food Nation Plan which sets out the Government’s goals for food policy and how it intends to achieve them.

The Good Food Nation Plan intends to cover “everything from farm to fork and beyond” and draw together a range of different policies. The Scottish Government has said it also requires key public bodies, particularly local authorities and health boards, to set out their individual plans.

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Lochhead, the Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade Minister, launched the consultation of the draft document during a visit to City of Glasgow College, where he helped national chef Gary Maclean and catering students prepare a Burns Supper.

When asked at the Glasgow college what lessons the Scottish Government hopes to instil in young Scots through its education section of the plan, Lochhead said: “This week the world will celebrate Burns Night which contributes to a thriving food culture and interest in Scottish cuisine.

“I think the plan will play a great role in raising awareness and the profile of Scotland's food and drink culture - and the fact that we are a bounty of natural resources that allows us to produce amazing raw ingredients that underpins our food and drink sector.

“Whether that's the barley that underpins our massively globally successful whisky industry or whether it's in the many different ingredients that our food culture depends upon that we can grow and own doorsteps and the more sustainable way."

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Lochhead added that he hopes the plan will “inspire a lot of entrepreneurial spirit” with Scots looking towards working in or creating food and drink businesses.

He said: “We have to inspire young people in particular, but people of all ages, not only to think about their own consumption of food and drink, but also to see a career option in the industry, which is one of Scotland's national strengths.

“For instance, we know we need more people to become chefs and colleges like Glasgow City College and other institutions play a crucial role in that. The more we can inspire people by the incredible food and drink produce we have, the better.”

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The plan refers to Scottish Government struggles working with the UK Government on trade policy and Brexit, stating that reserved matters such as employment law “limits the actions we can take in Scotland to improve fair work standards in the food and drink industry”.

It comes after concerns raised by the Scottish Government about the “availability of basic foodstuffs” in Scotland due to “inadequate information” from Westminster on new Brexit trade measures.

In a letter to the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Scottish Government said it had received “no clear answers” from Whitehall on the implementation of the new Border Target Operating Model which is to come into place this month.

The plan further states: “The impact of Brexit has also been significant: as the UK now sits outwith the EU it is required to conduct its own trade negotiations. Scotland’s ability to influence its food system is thus further limited by the fact that we are not represented in our own right at these international-level discussions and negotiations.

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“We continue to press the UK Government to act in a way that acknowledges the interests of Scotland, and is supportive of our economy, people and the planet. However, their reluctance to engage meaningfully with the Scottish Government on trade policy has limited what we can do."

The food and drink industry is a major contributor to Scotland’s economy, with over 17,000 businesses employing 129,000 people.

The sector generates a turnover of around £15 billion per annum, and exports of Scottish food and drink were valued at £8.1 billion in 2022.

The consultation on the national Good Food Nation Plan will be published on the Scottish Government website and on Citizen Space on Wednesday, January 24 and will be open for responses until Monday, April 22.