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Horsegate, Red Tractors and consumer confidence

As the ‘horsegate’ horse meat scandal rumbles on and on, consumers are becoming more savvy about exactly what’s in their food… and much less tolerant of excuses.

It’s bad news for many manufacturers in foodservice but it’s good news for us. How come? We’ve got absolutely nothing to hide. And our Red Tractor mark proves it. In a world where packaging isn’t always as clear as it can and should be, people recognise, trust and appreciate the Red Tractor.

It looks like traceability is the new rock ‘n’ roll, and fresh research by Mintel proves it. They surveyed 1500 British consumers in late 2012 and again post-horsegate in March 2013, revealing that 14% of consumers – 8% more than the original survey – now feel the traceability of food and drink is important to them. At the same time buying British scored higher in the second swathe of research than the first, rising from 30% before the horse meat scandal to 34% afterwards.

Mintel’s findings revealed that around 50% of the consumers questioned recognise established, trusted logos like the Red Tractor mark, which is pretty good going and highlights how many people these days genuinely want to know where their food comes from, what’s in it and what the manufacturer has done with it between the field and the plate.

In March this year we also saw announcements that DNA testing might eventually become an everyday part of quality control on all kinds of food. It remains to be seen whether it’s just a knee-jerk reaction to the crisis or a genuine common sense measure that really will reassure consumers about the origin and contents of the things they eat. In the meantime, the Red Tractor mark’s reach is getting wider, with more consumers learning about it and realising it’s an indication of trust, honesty, responsibility and dedication to traditional food values.

At the same time, according to the president of the German Federation of Bakers, regionally produced specialty baked goods made with traditional grains hold a great deal of promise for smaller German bakers. And Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance has announced food firms need to work harder to ensure transparency and traceability, both up and downstream in the supply chain.

It looks like the writing is on the wall. And we’re very glad to be at the forefront, already taking an ethical and responsible attitude to our products, the way we make them and the source of our raw materials. All of which means we’re particularly pleased with this delightful video from Hornbuckle Farm, one of our Red Tractor suppliers. Enjoy!

(Thanks to http://www.sxc.hu/profile/nion for the lovely royalty-free image.)