The fresh food endorsement logo – the Red Tractor – is now being celebrated with a special Red Tractor Day, taking place today (21 April).

Launched in 2000 as a symbol for conscientiously produced food, the Red Tractor is found on a wide range of fresh foods in all major supermarkets, offering a single, independent ‘kitemark’ for farm-to-pack assurance.

Inaugurating Red Tractor Day, British Prime Minister Tony Blair paid tribute to the alliance of food producers and retailers who have supported the independent Red Tractor scheme, called on consumers to look out for the mark and urged more UK food businesses to join the alliance.

Since its launch, the Red Tractor logo has grown in popularity and now appears on GBP5bn (US$8.98bn) worth of food every year, which accounts for 60% of own-brand fresh foods sold in UK supermarkets, according to Assured Food Standards, the independent not-for-profit organisation set up to manage the scheme.

“The Red Tractor delivers rigorous standards, traceability and independent inspections at every stage of production,” said Assured Food Standards chairman Colin Smith. “It brings together the nation’s leading producers, processors and retailers behind one credible, transparent scheme. Our message to shoppers today is – go out and look for the Red Tractor mark.”

Red Tractor Day is being backed by the country’s leading supermarkets who use the independent Red Tractor scheme to set standards for their suppliers. Some 78,000 UK farmers are members of the Red Tractor assurance scheme, which was originally devised by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) to identify assured British food.