NBA and NPA launch attack on Sainsbury's Red Tractor move

TWO leading industry organisations have called in to question Sainsbury’s decision to drop the Red Tractor logo.

The supermarket has already come under fire, on its own website and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, with consumers branding its decision to drop the assurance logo a ‘disgrace’.

Sainsbury’s argued that with EU changes to food labeling on the horizon it didn’t want to confuse customers with too many logos.

However, both the National Beef Association (NBA) and the National Pig Association (NPA) have warned that shoppers could take their money elsewhere.

NBA chairman, Hamish McBean, said: “When the Red Tractor is removed from J Sainsbury’s beef packs, it will be more difficult, or perhaps even impossible, for regular consumers who wish to buy British to distinguish between beef of British origin which is backed by British standards and imported beef produced under different rules.

“This being the case we believe it is inevitable that many consumers will take beef home believing it to be British [and] we think Sainsbury’s should be aware of this because there is every indication the majority would be disappointed if they ever discovered it was not.”

NPA chairman Richard Longthorp added:“[Shoppers] won’t find [the Red Tractor logo] in Sainsbury’s any more but they will in all the other major supermarkets including Tesco and Asda, which continue to support British farming.”

A survey in August by YouGovSixthSense found that 59 per cent of consumers would rather buy UK-sourced meat and poultry compared to imported products.

But Sainsbury’s has defended the move.

A spokesman said: “Customers have told us that too many logos are confusing, so we will be phasing out the use of the Red Tractor logo on pack.  We will still use the Red Tractor standards as part of our wider sourcing standards.

“Suggesting this is a step back from supporting British farmers couldn’t be further from the truth; we are actually stepping up our commitment.  We aim to double our sales of British food by 2020.

“Over the last five years we’ve invested £40 million into British farming, for example paying our Dairy Development Group farmers a premium for good animal husbandry and environmental practices well above what is defined by Red Tractor.”

Have your say

Register your email address for Farmers Guardian e-bulletins

Get the latest from Farmers Guardian delivered straight to your inbox. Click here to sign-up today

Already receiving bulletins? Sign-in to edit your preferences