Coming soon: Red Tractor logo on branded ready-meals

By Laurence Gibbons contact

- Last updated on GMT

Clarke estimated a number of branded food manufacturer would apply the logo to their products
Clarke estimated a number of branded food manufacturer would apply the logo to their products

Related tags: Red tractor, Meat

Branded ready-meal manufacturers are likely to adopt the Red Tractor quality assurance scheme logo over the next few months, according to the boss of the scheme.

David Clarke, ceo of Red Tractor, told FoodManufacture.co.uk he expected a number of brands and retailers to adopt the ‘made with’ logo to show that the ingredients in their products adhered to the scheme.

“For brands and retailers and whoever, this is a great opportunity,” ​said Clarke. “We have had interest from a number of brands in using it and are optimistic some will move forward with it.

“We are likely to see them pick it up fairly quickly; there are no restrictions from our point of view.”

He was speaking in the wake of the announcement that Asda was adopting the mark for its chilled own-label beef ready-meals.

Applying the Red Tractor logo to ready-meals held great potential for breaded poultry manufacturers, Clarke claimed.

“This is a new opportunity for breaded poultry products and pies to provide assurance of their products to consumers,”​ Clarke added.

Dairy sector

Clarke said that he initially thought the logo would provide opportunities for meat and protein businesses, however he was surprised to receive interest from the dairy sector.

“There has been interest from dairy brands in using the logo, despite our focus being on the protein market,”​ Clarke added.

“Again, we are optimistic some will move forward. We have had some strange enquires. We wanted to focus on meat and protein but have been approached by ice-cream and preservative brands.”

Red Tractor has sent details of the criteria for using the logo on food products to retailers and Clarke said there has been interest from most of them – as well as a number of branded food manufacturers.

“We need to make sure that those wanting to use the logo satisfy our criteria. The criteria are fairly simple, but we are not going to allow people to make false claims,”​ Clarke warned. “It is all about making sure the product is farm and quality assured.”

The logo has been around for over a decade and therefore companies should understand what is required and know what they need to do to comply, Clarke added.

Red Tractor is a food assurance scheme which covers production standards developed by experts, including safety, hygiene, animal welfare and the environment. The Red Tractor logo on pack means food and drink products have met these standards, with core ingredients fully traceable back to independently inspected farms in the UK.

The ‘Made with’ claim should be made about the meat or poultry element of the meal. In order to make the claim, 100% of the meat or poultry in the product must be Red Tractor Assured.

‘Kick-started by horsemeat’

The horsemeat crisis and the trust issues between manufacturers, retailers, suppliers and consumers kick-started the initiative for the Red Tractor logo to be used on food products, Clarke said.

“There is still a lot of recovery to be done to repair the damage of the horsemeat crisis, we hope this will contribute to that,”​ he added.

He said many firms had said they would like to use the logo on their products for years and that the wheels were in motion to make this happen before the horsemeat crisis happened.

Meanwhile, earlier this week Asda adopted the Red Tractor logo on its own-label chilled beef ready meals, including Spaghetti Bolognese, Lasagne and Cottage Pie. 

Ade McKeon, Asda brand director, said: “Our customers tell us that it’s important for them to know exactly where their food comes from so we’re delighted that from February 2014 we will be the first retailer to have the Red Tractor stamp of approval on all our chilled beef ready meals.”

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