Healthy Food (Dundee)

Question Time — Scottish Executive — General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:40 am on 18th January 2007.

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Photo of Kate Maclean Kate Maclean Labour 11:40 am, 18th January 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive what measures are in place to encourage convenience stores and retailers in Dundee to promote healthy food. (S2O-11696)

Photo of Lewis Macdonald Lewis Macdonald Labour

We are funding the healthy living programme that is run by the Scottish Grocers Federation to increase the availability of healthy foods in local neighbourhood shops, especially in low-income communities. Phase 3 of the programme, which Andy Kerr launched on 18 December 2006, is designed to expand the initiative as widely as possible. It now includes a number of convenience stores in the city of Dundee.

Photo of Kate Maclean Kate Maclean Labour

Does the minister agree that making healthy food available in deprived communities does not in itself change the culture of unhealthy eating? Is he aware of the great work that Dundee healthy living initiative is doing to teach people basic cooking skills on a budget and to allow them to experiment and try healthy food at no cost to them? Unfortunately, that successful scheme has no long-term funding. Does the minister acknowledge the importance of community-based support? Will he agree to meet me to discuss the long-term future of the scheme, to enable those in our most deprived communities to benefit from the SGF healthy living programme?

Photo of Lewis Macdonald Lewis Macdonald Labour

I agree that it is not simply a matter of making healthy food available and that retailers and others can do a number of things to assist consumers to make healthy choices. I am aware of the Dundee healthy living initiative, of the good work that the group is doing in Dundee and of the success that it has had in making a difference to those whom it has supported. I am happy to meet Kate Maclean to discuss the future of the project. NHS Health Scotland is taking an interest in the work it is doing and in the sustainability of projects that seek to promote healthy living in disadvantaged communities. I expect that to continue.