Shoppers are to be given greater reassurance over the provenance of meat in their ready meals following the launch of a new Red Tractor logo for more highly processed foods.
Currently the Red Tractor logo can only be used on processed products where the ingredient which is the subject of the logo makes up at least 65% of the total product ingredients.
For example, a pork pie can only carry the Red Tractor ‘pork’ logo if the Red Tractor Assured pork makes up at least 65% of the total product.
But from next week, Red Tractor Assurance will roll out the new ‘Made with Red Tractor Assured…’ logo for products containing Red Tractor Assured beef, poultry, lamb or pork.
“This represents a significant development for retailers and manufacturers and means the Red Tractor logo is truly fit for purpose”
It can be used on products where the protein element of the product makes up less than 65% of the total product. However, to bear the new mark, 100% of the meat or poultry in the product must be Red Tractor Assured.
For example, ‘Made with Red Tractor Assured Chicken’ could not be used if only a proportion of the chicken in a ready meal is sourced from Red Tractor Assured farms.
Red Tractor’s research showed that more than half of consumers would be more likely to buy products such as ready meals and pies featuring the Red Tractor logo, said Richard Cattell, head of communications and marketing at Red Tractor Assurance.
“This represents a significant development for retailers and manufacturers and means the Red Tractor logo is truly fit for purpose,” he said.
The new logo will be used for the first time on own-label beef ready meals to go on sale in Asda stores on Thursday next week (20 February).
“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 have the Red Tractor stamp of approval on all our chilled beef ready meals,” said Asda brand director Ade McKeon.
Products will include spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne and cottage pie.
The new logo has been in development for some time and although it was not a knee-jerk reaction to horsegate, its development had been influenced by the food scandal, said Red Tractor CEO David Clarke. Red Tractor had considered extending the logo for several years but “certainly the events of last January (2013) made us look at it even more seriously”.
Where a meal contains a non-protein as a main ingredient, Red Tractor requires that “efforts should be made to source Red Tractor Assured products wherever possible”, Red Tractor Assurance said.
Requiring more than the protein to be Red Tractor Assured would not be feasible, particularly due to the seasonality of fresh produce, said Clarke.
In addition, Red Tractor’s consumer research had identified a “clear signal” that it was the protein in a processed product on which consumers sought most assurance.
The NFU welcomed the new logo as a new way of marketing British produce.
“I am delighted that with the development of the new ‘Made with’ Red Tractor logo there are even more opportunities to highlight the British-sourced assured ingredients that our members work so hard to supply to consumers,” said Meurig Raymond, NFU deputy president.
Asda was now using Red Tractor Assured potatoes in its chilled beef ready meals, McKeon added.