Tesco urges farmers to back kitemark

7 April 2000

Tesco urges farmers to back kitemark

By Vicky Houchin

BRITAINS biggest supermarket chain has urged farmers to stop knocking the National Farmers Union kitemark, aimed at boosting sales of British food.

Tesco said farmers should stop criticising the unions red, white and blue logo, which was launched last week by Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Many farmers believe the kitemark, which shows a red F-shaped tractor with blue wheels, should have been more strongly based on the Union Jack.

But David Sawday, head of corporate affairs at Tesco, said it was time for the industry to stop squabbling and throw its weight behind the logo.

“Too much [criticism] has been levelled at the kitemark and not what it means,” he told Farmers Weekly.

“I dont think the design devalues the concept.”

Like other supermarkets, Tesco has pledged to use the kitemark. Mr Sawday said: “Customers want simplicity and a shortcut to getting what they want.”

Customers go through a complicated process when choosing food and shoppers often act in the opposite way to expectations, said Mr Sawday.

Tesco will use the mark. But Mr Sawday declined to say whether it would be replace the companys existing Natures Choice quality standard.

“We need to take a position and we havent yet,” he said. “Ive heard a lot of noise on this but we have decided to back it. Its what the industry needs.”

An NFU survey released this week claimed that the kitemark will persuade 60% of shoppers to buy the food on which it appears.

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