Red tractor logo for ready meals

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Undated handout photo issued by Red Tractor of their new logo. The food industry is stepping up efforts to reassure shoppers about the origin of their meat in the wake of last year's horsemeat scandal by launching the Red Tractor logo on ready meals. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday February 23, 2014. The distinctive red logo, introduced 14 years ago, is only carried on food products that reach certain standards of animal welfare and can be traced back to British farms. See PA story CONSUMER ReadyMeals. Photo credit should read: Red Tractor/PA WireNOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

The food industry is stepping up efforts to reassure shoppers about the origin of their meat in the wake of last year's horsemeat scandal by launching a Red Tractor logo on ready meals.

The distinctive red logo, introduced 14 years ago, is only carried on food products that reach certain standards of animal welfare and can be traced back to British farms.

The kitemark has never appeared on ready meals or convenience foods before because their ingredients list was deemed too complicated.

But now the Red Tractor have introduced a new logo which highlights that 100 per cent of the meat used in ready meals and pies meets its standards.

The move follows the plummeting consumer confidence in chilled foods after horsemeat DNA was found in burgers and a range of ready meals found on supermarket shelves.

Britons binned 18 million ready meals in the aftermath of the scandal and sales have still not bounced back a year on.

David Clarke, chief executive of Red Tractor, said concern about the contamination of products had contributed to the drive to develop the new stamp.

He said: "The new 'Made With' logo has been in development for some time and although it isn't a direct reaction to horsemeat, the events that unfolded in 2013 certainly made us look at it even more seriously."

Despite falls in sales, the chilled ready meal market is still big business, with the UK spending £2.5 billion on the convenience food each year, according to research by consumer experts Kantar Worldpanel.

Retail giant Asda will launch the logo on its chilled beef ready meals later this month and there are plans to roll it out to other products over the rest of the year.

Ade McKeon, Asda brand director, said: "We're proud to have worked with Red Tractor on a project of this kind.

"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 be the first retailer to have the Red Tractor stamp of approval on all our chilled beef ready meals."

Research carried out by Red Tractor suggests that more than half of shoppers are more likely to buy products like ready meals and pies if they featured the Red Tractor logo.

Some 78,000 farms are part of the Red Tractor Assurance scheme since it was launched by Tony Blair in 2000.

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