The Red Tractor scheme is to add a new range of marques to make it easier for consumers to identify farming methods when buying food and drink, as well as enabling farmers to sell their products through Red Tractor whichever farming method they use.
Red Tractor is a widely recognised assurance scheme covering animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection from farm to pack, giving products which adhere to Red Tractor standards a stronger visual identity.
The new ranges will begin to roll out across food service and retail over the next 12 months. As with the core offering, accredited members will be required to meet robust specifications for the new ranges, which will be checked by independent assessors every step of the food’s journey from farm to pack.
The new marques retain the union flag, the distinctive tractor with the heart in the wheel sitting on a ‘tick’, but replaces the words Certified Standards from the core logo, with the farming method used. Each new marque will have its own colour: orange for free range chicken; purple for enhanced welfare for chicken; and green for organic.
Red Tractor CEO Jim Moseley explained that the new modular approach is supported by a clear and simple process, which could strip out some of the complexity from labels on pack and menus.
MR Moseley said: “As the Agriculture Bill passes through the House of Lords, there’s perhaps no more important time for consumers to have real clarity about the food they buy. Red Tractor now provides even greater variety whatever the choice or budget. Underpinned by the safety and traceability of our core standards, the ‘Enhanced Welfare’ range uses selective breeds, such as those from the slower growing Hubbard portfolio, which are reared indoors and have more room to grow for longer.”
Tracey Jones, director of food business at Compassion in World Farming welcomed the new labelling system: “It is an important enabler for companies who want to source to this standard and the marque provides a clear visual identity which, along with the free range and organic labels, allows consumers to understand how their chicken was produced and make informed choices.
“We welcome the introduction of the Enhanced Welfare module as it will help companies across all sectors uplift their auditing and promote their higher welfare credentials to their customers.”