Plans to roll out Red Tractor logo met with reluctance

English livestock producers have poured cold water on plans to replace a plethora of meat quality labels with a single logo across all food types.

Levy payers are being asked to fund a single cross-sector quality scheme by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) – the umbrella organisation which represents six agricultural sectors.

 End of the road for the Red Tractor? Read more on the consultation here

A single scheme across all levy-paying sectors would benefit producers because consumers are confused by too many quality marks and food logos, according to an AHDB consultation document launched on 19 September.

It favours buying into the existing Red Tractor logo, which already appears on £7.5bn of British food and drink products. DEFRA has already indicated it will grant the required approval for such an investment to take place.

But English beef producers said they would be reluctant to give up their own Quality Standard Mark in favour of a single scheme that would benefit producers in other sectors – and possibly also farmers in Scotland and Wales.

Kim-Marie Haywood, director of the National Beef Association, said: “We don’t at present support levy money being used to support the Red Tractor logo, so we would have to be completely convinced that it would benefit the industry.

“We struggle to see how one brand across all sectors would be of benefit. By lumping everything together, we will be diluting the impact of the Beef Quality Standard Mark which we have already invested a lot of money in.”

Stewart Houston, executive director of the National Pig Association, said his organisation was undecided on the AHDB proposals. An association sub-group had been established to discuss the pros and cons before submitting a formal response.

The six-week consultation closes on Friday 31 October.