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Standard bearers of excellence: Red Tractor

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Assurance you can trust: Red Tractor CEO Jim Moseley says this is ‘an easy way to build in due diligence to your organisation’
Assurance you can trust: Red Tractor CEO Jim Moseley says this is ‘an easy way to build in due diligence to your organisation’

Related tags Pubs

The presence of the Red Tractor logo is a mark of quality and of safety – in fact, many people will trade up if they see the hallmark. And, in these times, offering security means a lot to your potential customers.

In troubled times, there’s nothing better for your business than being able to offer a strong sense of assurance to your customers. 

What is Red Tractor?

Red Tractor is a not-for-profit operation dedicated to improving the quality of the food and drink eaten in the UK. Created two decades ago to transform and rebuild trust in British food and farming quality, it is now the largest and most comprehensive food and farming scheme in the UK.

Covering 75% of UK agricultural production, with the logo on more than £14.7bn of products, its standards are the industry benchmark – with all major supermarkets using them as part of their food sourcing and supplier specifications. The scheme covers everything from animal welfare and food safety, to traceability and the environment.

“For consumers seeking reassurance, Red Tractor is a simple signpost that they are not
only buying British – but British-produced to world-leading standards and uniquely checked every step of the way from farm to packet,” says Red Tractor’s CEO Jim Moseley.

“It also provides reassurance and simplification for the supply chain of foodservice companies.”

With concerns over food supplies in the wake of Brexit and the current coronavirus crisis, being able to reassure customers is vital.

However, research by YouGov has shown that when it comes to eating out, people are less confident about the standards or origin of the food on offer than they are when buying from the supermarket – a worrying trend for all pub and bar operators.

According to the survey, 71% of UK adults are confident the food they buy from a supermarket has been produced to high standards and they know where it comes from. However, only 54% of people are confident, when eating out, that their food has been produced to the same standards.

Improving perceptions

It’s an issue the sector must address and looking towards assurance initiatives, such as the Red Tractor scheme, could help to tackle it.

The values that 60% of UK consumers most associate with food produced in the UK involve supporting British farmers (30%), sourcing locally (16%) and the way their food is produced (14%). On top of this, a quarter of consumers (24%) cite their most important value as being the quality of British food.

One of the key reasons behind the improved perception of food in the supermarkets has been the move to embrace assurance schemes, with logos like the Red Tractor prominent on packaging and have its standards built into their buying specifications.

Red Tractor is certainly the most prominently recognised scheme, with the logo having the highest prompted awareness of all other food assurance marques (70%) versus the Soil Association at 31% and RSPCA Assured at 24%, among UK primary shoppers. Around two thirds of purchasing decisions are positively influenced by the Red Tractor logo, the YouGov survey found.

Widely recognised 

On top of this, around four out of 10 people would trade up on seeing the logo as well, representing an upsell opportunity for pub operators. 

Flag of assurance

As part of the ongoing commitment to set out its credentials of UK food and farming, Assured Food Standards is launching a new-look logo in a bid to clearly communicate the world-leading standards it represents to consumers.

Drawing on its 20-year history of checking British-sourced food and drink all the way along its journey from farm to pack, the new logo retains the Union flag to signify that the product has been grown, reared, processed and packed in the UK, and will now feature the name Red Tractor, replacing Assured Food Standards.

It will also feature an updated tractor to modernise its appearance and include the words ‘Certified Standards’ and a tick.

And it’s not just consumer peace of mind either.

Red Tractor CEO Jim Moseley says: “Sourcing products from Red Tractor-approved suppliers means you’re applying a rigorous buying specification across your value chain, covering food safety, traceability, environmental protection and high welfare standards. It’s an easy way to build in due diligence to your organisation.

“Displaying assurance logos like Red Tractor on your menus is shorthand for consumers to identify your products are British, well-sourced, produced to high standards and are traceable. All of which will help improve consumer perceptions on the out-of-home market.”

Adopting assurance schemes on your menus and in your supply chains will give you an effective way to communicate to your customers you’re ensuring the best possible produce, with high standards across the board. It’s a simple solution, but one that will pay dividends.

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