Red Tractor announcement – industry reaction

Representatives from across the supply chain have given their reaction to the Red Tractor announcement.

Minette Batters, NFU President
“This new advertising campaign will raise the profile and understanding of Red Tractor, farmers and the fantastic job they do producing the nation’s food to high levels of animal welfare and environmental standards.

“Brexit is a game changer for British agriculture and ‘Brand Britain’ must be based on the integrity of robust food assurance. There’s never been a more important time to market and promote great British food and farming, and for us as farmers and growers to reach out to shoppers and encourage them to buy high quality, British produce.

“The message within these commercials is that Red Tractor food is safe, traceable and farmed with care, and to look out for the Red Tractor label on produce when shopping. Research has shown that shoppers are twice as likely to buy Red Tractor labelled produce when they understand the meaning behind the label.”

“Red Tractor’s new modular approach to assurance will give producers a one stop shop for their assurance needs and help to reduce the burden placed on them. There is also the potential to offer a clear and comprehensive labelling scheme for shoppers.

“The Red Tractor standards continue to evolve with the introduction of a risk based approach to farm inspections. The NFU supports this change which will help ensure the scheme remains relevant and robust, giving confidence to buyers. We recognise that this new approach to inspections needs to be practical at farm level and we will be working with Red Tractor to ensure that this is the case.

“Red Tractor continues to be a vital part of the UK food supply chain and these changes will help further improve customer confidence in the logo.”

Zoe Davies, National Pig Association (NPA) CEO
“The NPA welcomes the Red Tractor campaign. A Red Tractor scheme that embraces industry and an industry that embraces Red Tractor must surely be the greatest assurance consumers both in this country and beyond can have.”

Scott Walker, NFU Scotland CEO

“Farmers in Scotland spend long hours on the care and attention required to produce the quality food for which Scotland is renowned.  Farm Assurance underpins our quality credentials.  The launch of the first National TV campaign by Red Tractor is an important step in helping consumers understand what it takes to produce the fantastic high quality food grown and reared in the UK.”

Phil Stocker, National Sheep Association Chief Executive
“I welcome this announcement from Red Tractor Assurance.  It’s reassuring to see a robust response to a number of recent damaging claims that risk undermining the value of the scheme, and its also good to see other new initiatives underway.  The principle of a more intense inspection regime involving unannounced inspections on high risk farms, is one I think the NSA would support as long as it is recognised that sheep farms are regularly run single handed and that unannounced inspections need to be practical and considerate.

“I’m also delighted that Red Tractor Assurance is launching a new TV advertising campaign, and will be watching the development of different scheme modules closely.  It makes complete sense to me for Red Tractor Assurance to offer a range of different assurance modules to cater for different consumer and farmer interests.  We are not a ‘one standard society’.”

Wesley Aston, Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) CEO: 
“Against the background of Brexit, it’s more important now than ever that we promote and communicate our farming and food production standards to our own consumers. The modular broadening of the scheme’s standards will also help address consumer confusion around labelling and reduce the burden on farm businesses. Consumer confidence can also be assured in the robustness of the scheme’s high standards with the strengthening of the already comprehensive inspection programme to include risk based unannounced inspections and we will be engaging with Red Tractor to ensure that this is implemented in a practical manner on farms.”

Christine Watts, AHDB Chief Communications and Market Development Officer: 
“Red Tractor provides an invaluable link from farmers and growers to consumers, giving them confidence that what they are buying is traceable and meets standards on matters like animal welfare and the environment.

“Our farmers produce the safest, highest quality food in the world, and this is underpinned by the most widely used and recognised assurance standard.”

Aldi spokesperson:

“We are pleased to see Red Tractor has taken the necessary steps to improve the robustness of their scheme, and we are supportive of their measures to further improve traceability and transparency in the food supply chain. The Red Tractor logo is easily recognisable for all UK consumers and is included as a mark of provenance and quality on all of our core fresh meat products.”

Matt Hood, Co-op Trading Director:
“We welcome Red Tractor’s announcement and applaud any measures which aim to bolster consumer trust over the way our food is produced. Animal welfare, traceability, food safety and concerns over the environment are key issues for Co-op members and customers and we remain committed to sourcing Red Tractor certified produce for sale across our 2,500 stores.

“As the first retailer to sell 100% fresh British own-brand meat, our commitment towards British farmers and growers remains steadfast, and we look forward to working with Red Tractor as it extends its assurance programme into 2019 and beyond, so that customers can buy home-grown produce with absolute confidence.”

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.