Red Tractor has announced its intent to substantially increase the strength and breadth of its food chain assurance regime in a bid to become the flagship of British food and farming.

The farm and food assurance scheme announced that it will create a new suite of ‘modular standards’ to sit alongside its current core offering.

The new modules will cover areas such as enhanced animal welfare, organic and environmentally sustainable production and will be launched with a consumer-facing labelling system to improve clarity for shoppers.

Red Tractor is also strengthening its farm inspection programme with measures such as the introduction of more unannounced inspections to improve the integrity of the scheme.

Red Tractor believes that the changes are a vital component in maintaining the trust of consumers and promoting the high standards of UK farming and food production.

Jim Moseley, CEO, Red Tractor Assurance, said: “I believe that this is one of the most exciting times in Red Tractor’s 19 year history and I am very proud to be leading us through these changes.

“Our vision is that Red Tractor is seen by shoppers, farmers and the food industry as the flagship of British food and farming.

"Red Tractor is already a world-leading assurance scheme; however, we are constantly strengthening our standards in line with scientific advances and consumer demand.

"We know shoppers are increasingly looking for more informed choice and simple signposts to traceable, safe and responsibly produced food, which is why we are looking to extend the remit of Red Tractor.

"Increasing confidence in Red Tractor and the entire UK food industry is vital, particularly as we approach Brexit.”

Red Tractor also launches a £1.5m national TV campaign, supported with print, digital and in-store activity.

The move has been welcomed by a number of major supermarkets.

Minette Batters, NFU president, said: “Brexit is a game changer for British agriculture and ‘Brand Britain’ must be based on the integrity of robust food assurance. There’s never been a more important time to market and promote great British food and farming, and for us as farmers and growers to reach out to shoppers and encourage them to buy high quality, British produce.”