Red Tractor gains EU approval

The Red Tractor is set to replace quality meat standards logos after receiving state aid approval.

Industry leaders had already backed an Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) proposal to levy 500,000 each year, while providing a financial contribution to promote the Red Tractor scheme, but it needed the go-ahead from European Commissioners before it invested in consumer promotion activity.

EBLEX will now integrate its databases with the Red Tractor licensing scheme, working in conjunction with Assured Food Standards. Thousands of butchers and scores of retailers and processors are signed up to the Quality Standard Mark and point-of-sale material will need to be arranged before they can use the Red Tractor.

EBLEX sector director Richard Lowe said there was still work to do to switch from legacy marketing programmes. Lead times for producing new materials with the Red Tractor logo are likely to be a few months, so it will be phased in over a period of time. He added that EBLEXs Quality Standard Mark would continue to be used in those trade channels where licensing procedures for the Red Tractor had yet to be developed.

It also opens exciting opportunities for us to work more closely with other sectors which use the Red Tractor to promote quality produce, added Lowe.

BPEX chairman Stewart Houston said the new focus would not make a difference in terms of its marketing strategy. Agreement was reached that we do central support for it but at the same time each of the sectors will progress their own individual activities - so we should get the best of both worlds. However, Houston aims to ensure that BPEX gets good value for money: We want to maintain the credibility we got with our Quality Standard Mark.

Colin Smith, chairman of Assured Food Standards, added: With minimum investment to date, the retail sales value of the Red Tractor logo has risen by 60% over the last three years and now appears on over 8bn worth of products.

With new funding from the AHDB, we will be able to invest further in increasing consumer awareness of Red Tractor assurance by delivering a strong message about the quality and standards of production in the agricultural and horticultural industry which the Red Tractor logo stands for.

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