Red Tractor sales hit £10bn as changes that will benefit growers come into force

Sales of products featuring the Red Tractor logo -- including fresh produce sales -- have reached a value of £10bn.

Assured Food Standards (AFS) — the independent organisation which runs the scheme — said the figure marks a rise of more than £1.5bn in the past 12 months.

Much of the growth has been driven by the food-service sector, which has grown 50% in the past year.

All major retailers and more than 500 leading companies use the logo and Red Tractor is now attracting a high level of interest from food-service operators supplying the leisure sector as well as public procurement areas such as schools and hospitals, according to AFS.

AFS CEO David Clarke said: "As little as two years ago we had no presence in food service so this is an important development for us."

This milestone has been reached under the tenure of Colin Smith, Assured Food Standard's outgoing chairman, who took up the post in 2003.

Smith steps down from the post on 1 December to welcome new chairman David Gregory.

The news also comes shortly after approval from Brussels of the plan by the levy board AHDB to consolidate activity behind the Red Tractor logo.

In a further step in the evolution of Red Tractor, Assured Food Standards is on the verge of launching its newly harmonised standards. 

From April 2010, the scheme's 78,000 farmers and growers will go live with standards that are for the first time aligned across all farm sectors, allowing a more integrated approach — particularly for mixed farms. 

The harmonised standards will ensure that the requirements that underpin the Red Tractor logo are consistent across all sectors.

They will be delivered to all AFS members in January.


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