A number of leading UK retailers and a prominent fast food chain have come together to urge the farming industry to engage with the Red Tractor consultation.
Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Greggs, Lidl, M&S, McDonald’s, Morrisons and Waitrose have all put their names to a letter also signed and distributed by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which appears to reflect concern among some retailers over farmer criticism of the proposed new standards.
The letter states: “As strong supporters of AFS we are following the debate around the review of the standards closely. We believe the consultation is important, regular reviews keep the standards relevant for the millions of our customers who look for AFS Red Tractor products in our stores.
“It is right all stakeholders have an opportunity to question the direction and speed of progress of the evolution of the standards. However, one thing which shouldn’t be questioned is the value of the scheme itself.
“Red Tractor is crucial in underpinning our brands; it gives our consumers the reassurance on production and environmental standards they demand.
“A co-ordinated, national scheme means farmers have access to the whole retail market, and increasingly the out of home market through a single scheme.
“We also believe it has helped farmers improve standards and productivity, benefiting them and ensuring they are meeting consumer demand here in the UK and be in the best position to take advantage of emerging markets.”
The retailers add that they remain committed to Red tractor and it continues to be a key element of their sourcing policies.
“We would encourage all farmers to engage constructively with the consultation to ensure it continues to grows and opens up new opportunities; recognising it is important for AFS to demonstrate the added value to your business, which we appreciate from our work with thousands of UK farmers,” the letter concludes.
Launched in early January, the consultation closes on March 5.
- The full list of proposed changes, supplementary documents on why Red Tractor has reached these decisions and on how to respond to the consultation can be found on the Red Tractor review hub HERE
- The full consultation can be accessed HERE
- Red Tractor is also keen for scheme members to respond to the What Matters To You And Your Business survey.