British shoppers are now spending over 5bn a year on food bearing the Red Tractor mark, and Assured Food Standards only expects that figure to grow.
In the three months to July alone, the number of products displaying the Red Tractor grew by 14%, with the largest increase in the dairy sector (17%), then fresh produce (15%) and red meat (12%).
Over the same period, the retail value of food bearing the logo increased by an estimated 10%.
Dairy leads the pack because many own-label cheese products have added the logo to packaging, as well as branded products such as Dairy Crest’s Countrylife butter and the recent addition of Milk Link’s Moo milk.
ASF’s head of marketing Bev Wilson said one challenge was to improve take-up in the cereals sector, where widespread blending of imported and domestic wheat before milling meant certification was not possible.
The launch of main ingredient certification will tackle this problem, said Ms Wilson. For instance, where Red Tractor chicken was used in a coq-au-vin ready meal, a modified Red Tractor logo could appear on the packaging, with the word “chicken” underneath.
“There is demand for this from farmers and consumers,” she said.