In Farmer’s regular look at the work of Red Tractor Assurance, CEO Jim Moseley launches a new set of consumer logos at a time when shoppers are being offered imported food instead of British.

WITH a new Agriculture Bill being discussed by our nations law makers, British Farming being backed by celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver, and the ongoing international trade negotiations- farming standards are once again hitting the headlines. There has never been a more pressing time for consumers to check where their food was produced and the standards behind it.

That’s according to Red Tractor, the largest food and farming assurance scheme in the UK, which has unveiled a new suite of marques designed to broaden its offer for shoppers and diners. Farmers can sell their products through Red Tractor under whichever scheme they choose, and the first of the ranges will be Enhanced Welfare for chicken. It requires more space and light, a reduction in the number of birds that are allowed in the barns.

CEO Jim Moseley said the new colour-coded logos are based on farming systems widely recognised by shoppers and diners, and will offer a one-stop solution for people looking for specific production methods for food that is also grown or reared to safe, traceable, high animal welfare and environmental standards. “Extensive UK and international research conducted by Red Tractor has helped develop the labelling system for the additional ranges,” he said.

Covid-19 caused widespread shortages of shelves, with some major retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Asda and Lidl imported meat and eggs from Poland and The Netherlands to fill empty shelf space, despite the abundance of fresh produce available here in the UK. But the farming industry has called for supermarket buyers and consumers to not let this become normal practice and to support British wherever possible. 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 will represent free range chicken, purple will be for enhanced welfare chicken and, when launched, assured organic products will carry a green logo. 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 enhanced welfare module has been developed in consultation with international industry experts, producers and key stakeholders in retail and foodservice, and has received the backing of international farm animal welfare charity Compassion in World Farming.