The whole of the UK agriculture industry needs to work together to make its kite mark Red Tractor logo more credible to consumers, said Waitrose director of agriculture Heather Jenkins.
"Red Tractor seems to be the logo that customers resonate with but they don't necessarily understand what it means and that's the biggest challenge," said Mrs Jenkins, speaking at a Waitrose press breakfast in London last week.
She likened the Red Tractor logo to a kite mark for the industry and said the retailer would continue to use the mark on its products in the future.
"The most damaging thing for any assurance scheme is its credibility; this whole area of assurance is one which frankly needs a lot of work," added Mrs Jenkins.
"Everybody has a responsibility to make sure what we are communicating to customers is clear and understandable; I think British agriculture needs to ramp up its credibility and its responsibility around that."
"The most damaging thing for any assurance scheme is its credibility; this whole area of assurance is one which frankly needs a lot of work."
Heather Jenkins, Waitrose director of agriculture
Organisations such as the NFU, AHDB and farmers themselves needed to work together with the Red Tractor to ensure consumers understood what the logo meant, she added.
"Everybody is responsible for having a credible assurance scheme and the representing bodies of British agriculture need to do this together."
Red Tractor chief executive officer David Clarke said: "We agree with Waitrose's comments that the Red Tractor logo has established itself as a 'kite mark' for the UK food industry."
Red Tractor, the AHDB and NFU had invested significantly over the years in Red Tractor consumer communications and research from YouGov showed that nearly two thirds of UK shoppers recognised the logo and 25% actively looked for the logo when making their food purchases, he said.
"Red Tractor Assurance is talking to all of its stakeholders over the next few weeks and months, the purpose of which is to ensure that our standards and the logo continue to deliver for farmers, the food supply chain and the consumer. We welcome the opportunity to work more closely with the industry to promote the benefits of Red Tractor Assurance in the future," added Mr Clarke.
More on this topic
Sainsbury's to phase out Red Tractor logo
Gemma Mackenzie on G+