The importance of brand recognition and making your key messages stick were key themes of this week’s Agri Food Comms-Cast.

Driving consumer awareness

The Red Tractor brand’s 20-year heritage means the food standards logo enjoys 70% recognition amongst British consumers. It boasts 46,000 farmer members and features on-pack of £14.7 billion of British produce. Yet despite this enviable level of penetration, recent market research, prior to the re-brand, revealed that consumers’ understanding of what’s behind this familiar marque was somewhat hazy.

Many identified the Red Tractor as a symbol of ‘British’ ‘quality’ and ‘good food’ – yet this did not fully convey the rigorous checks that underpin Red Tractor’s standards and the notion of ‘quality assurance’ wasn’t properly understood.

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Old and new Red Tractor logos

Key changes in the logo update:

  • Introduced the name ‘Red Tractor’ within the logo
  • Modernised design
  • The words ‘certified standards’ emphasise the stringent checks that are in place
  • Graphic tick demonstrates that products have passed an assessment to qualify
  • New heart displayed in the wheel of the tractor showcases love of British farmed produce

Identifying your brand’s tangible assets

Rebecca Miller, head of communications at the organisation explained how the Red Tractor logo is also evolving with the use of different colour backgrounds to identify a new range of modules that go beyond the core standards, such as a specific criteria that covers higher welfare poultry.

The Red Tractor assurance scheme has always covered animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection from farm to pack. This ensures that families across Britain have access to safe and affordable food.

They continue to underpin Red Tractor’s Higher Welfare standard for poultry, but the purple colour outline and wording ‘Enhanced Welfare’ on the familiar stamp denotes slower growing breeds of birds and lower stocking levels which provide additional ‘room to roam’, and environmental improvements to poultry housing.

The new Enhanced Welfare standard sits within the wider Red Tractor framework and shows a commitment to meet the ‘better chicken’ requirements.

The revisions to Red Tractor’s identity across its modules have helped to evolve the brand, to better represent a comprehensive offering. These changes are even more relevant during times of uncertainty, when the need for authority and clarity is greater than ever, especially when it comes to issues as important as food standards.

This is certainly a point that John Kirkpatrick, Tesco's agriculture manager for poultry and eggs was keen to emphasise.

Chickens

Meeting consumer demand for higher welfare poultry

Tesco has been an early adopter of the new enhanced welfare standard and John participates on Red Tractor’s technical advisory committee. Tesco recognised the growing consumer demand for a higher welfare product, to sit within retailer’s tiering for chicken, as an alternative to organic.

The new standard launched in Tesco on the 6 April, at a time when consumers were initially seeking to feed their families when panic buying struck. But in time, they began paying more attention to the provenance of their food in response to Covid-19.

In fact, Tesco has seen an unprecedented demand for chicken in recent weeks, with consumers stepping up to purchase higher standard poultry. However, to date it has been a soft launch without any supporting POS. Promotion of the new standard will be amplified later in the year. As John explained, lockdown meant

“We need to be sensitive to consumer needs.”

In a broader context, John believes that retailers have a responsibility to provide clarity and to inform consumers’ purchasing habits. This means balancing ‘value vs values’ to meet the broad range of customer requirements.

Red Tractor delivers a standard that the public buy into. The logo’s presence on packaging provides reassurance that products are healthy, sustainable, and affordable. Red Tractor and many of the UK’s leading retailers are helping to ensure our farming supply chain is fit for purpose and meeting the high standards of food safety and animal welfare that consumers expect. The Red Tractor logo is a helpful signpost, enabling time-pressed shoppers to buy quality food they can trust, whatever their budget.

By choosing Red Tractor, consumers are also helping to foster a better future for British agriculture, farmers, growers and producers.

To coincide with the launch of the new brand identity, Red Tractor has promoted the marque both on TV and through digital channels. It has been a valuable experience, as Rebecca says;

“It’s been a good challenge that’s pushed us in new directions and has really driven recognition and engagement.”

This activity has been an important aspect of the drive to improve emotional engagement with shoppers and modernise the scheme that has been certifying British-sourced food and drink for the past two decades.