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Right to Food

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We want to….improve young people’s knowledge of and access to the right to food in Scotland!

‘The right to food should be upheld in Scotland by creating a fair, healthy, and sustainable food system that is accessible to everyone.’

90% of young people consulted agreed with this statement

What is the Right to Food?
The Right to Food sets out a range of standards that a countries food systems should be able to meet. 

For many reasons that this campaign will draw attention to, many people in Scotland struggle to access the food they need to have a fulfilling and healthy diet. Different people have different food needs – be it cultural, religious, or dietary. Making the Right to Food a reality would allow everyone in Scotland to access the food the need – whoever you are and wherever you live.   

The right to food, along with many other human rights, is protected under international law but it is often harder to enforce international law. There are plans for this to be protected by law in Scotland in the future, but currently this right is guiding rather than binding (i.e. if someone’s right to food is breached, you can’t take anyone to court over it). 

Young People’s Right to Food Report

Our report, ‘Young People’s Right to Food’, was published in March 2023 and details the findings of our research carried out with young people across Scotland in late 2022.

The consultation received nearly 850 responses with participants speaking about how they access food as well as what improvements they think could help uphold their right to food in Scotland.

Some of the headline statistics include:

  • 86% of the young people who participated in this research said extending free school meals was a key way to uphold their right to food.
  • Over 75% said this would make them more likely to eat lunch at school.
  • Only two-fifths of respondents knew about the help and support they could receive to access food in their local communities.

Our Campaign

Aim: to improve young people’s knowledge and access to the right to food in Scotland.  

1. Raising Awareness 

To increase young people’s knowledge and awareness of the right to food through engagement sessions. 

SYP’s Campaign Delivery Group worked with staff to develop an engagement session to educate other young people about their right to food.  

2. #HaveYourSay on the Right to Food Survey

To understand young people’s experience in accessing their right to food and their thought on ways this could be improved through consultation.

We carried out a consultation across Scotland to find out young people’s experience in accessing food and gather opinions on different solutions to problems within our food systems, including your thoughts on universal free school meals.

The results of this research has shaped our calls to decisions makers about immediate improvements to food provision for young people.

3. Influencing our food systems 

To use our findings to influence local and national policy initiatives that help young people access their right to food so that they best meet their needs.  

This element of the campaign has been developed with the results of our survey.

MSYPs will meet MSPs and Councillors to discuss the findings of our report and advocate on behalf of their constituents.

The Current Situation in Scotland

In reflecting about the right to food in Scotland, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland has said: 

You need to be able to get food, and your family needs to have the money to buy it. They should be able to afford food while meeting other basic needs like heating your home.  

This isn’t the case for lots of families in Scotland right now. Lots of children and young people aren’t having their right to food made real. Austerity measures, welfare reform, low wages and insecure working conditions pushed more and more people into food insecurity in the UK.

In addition to the passing of the Good Food Nation (Scotland) Act 2022, which sets out improvements to our food systems, Scottish Government have indicated that they hope to incorporate the right to food into Scots Law. However, we believe that more needs to be done not only to include young people’s voices in that conversation, but to ensure more is done to influence current initiatives to ensure they meet young people’s needs. We also believe more can be done to raise young people’s awareness of their right to food. 


Want to learn more about what the right to food means? Check out these resources:  

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