Red Tractor is introducing a simple colour-coded system for its logo, which will help consumers identify the method of production used when it comes to buying chicken.
The new logos will retain the basics of the union flag and a red tractor sitting on a tick.
But instead of the standard blue background and text, it will be orange for “free range”, purple for “enhanced welfare” and green for “organic”.
“Over the past 18 months, we have been focused on how we can provide greater choice and clarity for those shoppers and diners who are looking to buy British produce grown and reared to recognised production methods,” said Red Tractor chief executive Jim Moseley.
“The new modular approach is supported by a clear and simple process, which could strip out some of the complexity from labels on packs and menus.”
The “enhanced welfare” module is the first to be rolled out, with accredited members required to meet robust specifications, checked by independent assessors.
Developed in consultation with industry experts, producers and retailers, the module includes the use of slower-growing birds, natural light, pecking objects and perches in the barns.
The maximum stocking density is reduced from 38kg/sq m to 30kg/sq m of live birds – in line with current requirements for RSPCA Assured production standards.
The “organic” Red Tractor standard is still in development and will be introduced later this year or early next year.
The move has been welcomed by welfare group Compassion in World Farming.
Its director of food business, Tracey Jones, said: “It is an important enabler for companies who want to source to this standard, and the marque provides a clear visual identity which, along with the free-range and organic labels, allows consumers to understand how their chicken was produced and make informed choices.”
With more than 46,000 British farmer members of the scheme, about 75% of all UK agricultural output is Red Tractor assured.
It is anticipated that the “method of production” differentiation will be rolled out across different farm sectors in due course.