The Red Tractor scheme has been dealt a massive blow, after Sainsbury’s said it would be removing the farm assurance logo from its products.

The move - first revealed by The Grocer’s sister publication Meat Trades Journal today - will affect the supermarket’s own-label meat, poultry, dairy and fresh produce lines.

Sainsbury’s said it had decided to remove the Red Tractor logo because consumers were confused by the plethora of logos and labels on packs. A spokeswoman added the retailer had recently reviewed its packaging in anticipation of new EU labelling rules coming in, which had prompted a reassessment of what information should be prioritised on packs. “Customers have told us that too many logos on pack can be confusing, so whilst we will continue to adhere to, and exceed, the Red Tractor standard, we will no longer be using their logo,” she added.

Sainsbury’s said all its British-sourced products met the Red Tractor standards and it would continue to use them “as the foundation for our due diligence” in its meat, poultry, dairy and produce supply chains. “Sainsbury’s also operates to standards over and above this,” the spokeswoman said. “For example, we pay farmers in our dairy development group a premium for good animal husbandry and environmental practices, and we are the UK’s leading retailer of Freedom Foods, selling over 300 lines.”

She added Sainsbury’s was proud to work with British farmers and remained committed to investing in British farmers and growers as part of its 20 by 20 sustainability strategy.

A spokeswoman for Red Tractor said it was “deeply disappointed” by Sainsbury’s decision.

“A recent survey showed that more than 80% of our farmer members believe the Red Tractor logo is the right tool to communicate to consumers both the good standards that they follow and the origin of the food,” she added.  “This will no longer be available to Sainsbury’s consumers.”

She added Red Tractor was “pleased” Sainsbury’s would continue to use Red Tractor standards as the foundations of its UK sourcing policy. “We understand that in some livestock sectors Sainsbury’s will build on Red Tractor standards with some additional welfare criteria, but we are pleased that Red Tractor standards will continue to provide the solid foundation for this.”