Plans are being developed to unify a range of food quality marks under the Red Tractor brand.
As Assured Food Standards gears up for the first ever Red Tractor Week (9 July-16 July), the NFU has announced ambitious new plans to support AFS in taking the increasingly trusted food chain assurance logo to another level.
NFU president Peter Kendall said the Red Tractor had already made huge strides in differentiating quality British produce in the market place, but needed to move on.
“The Red Tractor now appears on over £5.3 billion food products at retail level and Red Tractor Week, which starts on July 9, is a great opportunity to increase consumer recognition of the quality mark and the world class standards of quality and care that it signifies. The support we have had for the promotion from the major food retailers is really encouraging and exciting”, he said.
“But we need to go further. There are too many quality marks out there. Consumers are confused. We need to build on the growing strength of the Red Tractor by bringing as many other similar schemes under its umbrella as possible and then put serious money behind promoting a single brand.”
Mr Kendall said that another key aim was to simplify the farm assurance regime so that a farm would only need a maximum of one inspection per cycle, no matter how many different schemes it was a member of.
“As things stand, a mixed farm, producing three or four different products, could be faced with visits from three or four different inspectors all operating to slightly different rules. That is unnecessary and wasteful.
“We need a single set of standards covering the things that are common to all farmers and growers, supplemented by individual protocols for the various farm products and subject to a single annual inspection.
“And it is essential that the independently verified standards that assured farmers and growers have to meet are reflected in a less demanding statutory inspection regime. The golden rule is that no farmer or grower should be inspected twice for compliance with any single standard. Once is enough.”
Red Tractor Week is being supported by the NFU which has produced a series of posters aimed at reminding consumers Why Red Tractor Matters.
The event will be launched on July 9 at 4pm in Covent Garden with MPs racing on mini red tractors supplied by Massey Ferguson.