Associate Feature: Good Food Nation Plan must have plant-based food at its heart
After many years of evading the issue, the most recent COP28 finally included food and diet change on the agenda. Among many other expert voices, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recommended that “a shift toward plant-based diets” is one of the most significant ways to reduce emissions from the agriculture sector.
The Scottish Government has previously expressed its ambition that everyone in Scotland will have access to nutritious food and that dietary-related diseases will decline, along with the environmental impact of food production. In order to achieve this, the Good Food Nation Plan must include significant commitment to a plant-based food system.
Other countries are already leading the way, like Denmark and South Korea, whose Governments have recently published their plans for transitioning to a more sustainable plant-based food system and for championing their plant-based sector.
There is a huge opportunity for Scotland to join these world leaders, as our research has found that the Scottish people show higher than average support for policy measures to promote plant-based diets. 67% of Scots who want the government to promote plant-based diets said they’d back public awareness campaigns on the health and environmental benefits.
So the future Good Food Nation Plan must promote a just transition in this direction, with a variety of policies to facilitate it, including ensuring that nutritious vegan-friendly meals are always featured on all public sector menus. Farmers and land managers must be provided with all the financial support and resources they need to grow legumes and other plant-based protein crops for the Scottish food system. Scottish agroforestry can be an essential part of this system, supporting good rural livelihoods, tourism and animal habitats. With the right political commitment, Scotland can be a beacon of a sustainable food system to the world.
This article is sponsored by The Vegan Society