Red Tractor comes out No. 1 in study of international benchmarking standards

A new independent, international benchmarking study of global farm assurance schemes has found Red Tractor to have world-leading standards.

The study looked at prominent global schemes, some of which compete with the UK, and show the breadth and depth of Red Tractor to be second-to-none – especially in areas such as traceability and food safety.

The findings strengthen Red Tractor’s position as the scheme which can act as the flagship for quality British food both at home and abroad.


The research was conducted over the last six months by independent Nuffield Scholar Dr. Jonathan Birnie.

Dr. Birnie holds a PhD from the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland (now AFBI) and Queen’s University. He has worked for Sainsbury’s and Dunbia.

His final rankings were as follows:

Dr. Birnie said: “As a complete scheme, Red Tractor is the highest performing on an international basis. While there are areas that could be developed the existing scheme is comprehensive and a great foundation on which to build these additional standards.

I have come away with a great amount of confidence in Red Tractor following my detailed comparative analysis of all food sectors globally.

Red Tractor chief executive Jim Moseley said: “Our standards are world-class as is evidenced by this research and increases our determination to be the flagship of British food and farming.

“Our vision and the work we are already implementing to develop standards in certain areas will place Red Tractor firmly at the centre of UK agriculture worldwide.

“However, our focus remains working hard to ensure that every standard is in place on every farm, every day.”

The findings support Red Tractor’s planned development to cover specialist areas such as higher welfare, environmental enhancement and organic production.

Mr Moseley added; “While specialist schemes may have higher standards on specific single issues they do not offer the breadth across all aspects of farm production. Our ambition is to combine the current robust core of Red Tractor with additional standards on single issues to create a broader and stronger offer.”