CXCS Staff Blog: Red Tractor’s plans to strengthen brand

Wirtten by: Lydia Dray

Red Tractor recently published their plans to increase the ‘strength and breadth’ of their brand. Their ideas include a stronger inspection regime, a reduced audit burden and a £1.5m advertising campaign to help increase consumer understanding on what Red Tractor stands for.

The marketing campaign and increased auditing strength is a step in the right direction for both consumers and farmers. A review of the Red Tractor system was a vital change following recent newspaper stories slamming Red Tractor farms which has left the public doubting the quality of farming that the Red Tractor label represents.

Uncertain political climate already creates an uneasy environment for farmers, increased inspection strength may pile on the pressure. It will be paramount that paperwork is completed in line with the standards and is up to date. Farmers, Auditing bodies and Consumers should all aim to work in union to improve the overall quality of British Food and Agriculture.

We have also been told that there will be some updates to the standards October this year with an aim of “making any grey areas black and white”.

Please see below a copy of the email from Red Tractor to it’s members:

Dear Member,

Today we have announced our intent to increase the strength and breadth of our food chain assurance regime, in a bid to become the flagship of British food and farming. For you this means we will proactively do more to protect your reputation as a Red Tractor farmer by substantially strengthening our inspection regime as well as offer more choice to both producers and consumers.

Below our top priorities are outlined, you will receive much more detail on these announcements in the next few months.

1. A strengthening of the inspection regime to ensure robust compliance and greater integrity in the Red Tractor logo

We know the majority of Red Tractor farmers already doing an excellent job and those farms complying with our standards will not be affected by this change or incur further inspection costs.  However, we will identify those farms that require more frequent or unannounced inspections to protect the credibility of Red Tractor and British farming. This will depend on the nature and number of non-conformances identified during our inspections. Our aim is for every member to comply with every standard every day to ensure our collective reputation is maintained.

2. Complete Assurance – a modular approach

Today, Red Tractor has a core set of standards that provides safe food, affordable by all. But we recognise that many consumers and customers demand more such as organic, animal welfare focussed or environmentally enhanced for example. It is our intent to develop these modules under Red Tractor. The benefits we see are : greater Red Tractor choice and improved labelling clarity, reduced complexity and reduced audit burden for both farmers and customers. We have already started the groundwork, undertaking international benchmarking and consumer research to better define the modules and we are in discussion with other scheme operators to see if we can take a collaborative approach. It is our intent to launch this approach in 2019.

3. A £1.5m advertising campaign spearheaded by a television advert, launching on Wednesday 12 September

Following significant consumer research, we know that consumers are twice as likely to look for the Red Tractor logo when they understand what Red Tractor does and the lengths it goes to, to ensure food is traceable, safe and farmed with care.  Our campaign is designed to increase consumer understanding and will be spearheaded by National TV but will extend to social media and print where we can have deeper and broader dialogue with shoppers. The first advert will broadcast in the centre break of Emmerdale at 19:15 on Wednesday, 12th September. Please support it by sharing the details wherever you can. More information on the campaign can be found here.

A full press release on the above announcements can be found here.

For now, there is no need for you to do anything other than continue to meet the standards and support Red Tractor by sharing the details of the consumer campaign.

These are exciting times ahead for Red Tractor and we value your ongoing support.

We offer a service to complete the documents for all of the major Farm Assuranceschemes. If you would like more information you can visit our Farm Assurance service page or contact us direct on 01981 590514 or

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