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Red Tractor Licensing FAQs

FAQs

Our different licence types

What is a Packer & Processor licence and what type of businesses use this?

A Red Tractor Packer & Processor licence is held by a business that has been approved to process or pack Red Tractor products.

Under the Red Tractor scheme, catering butchers and any business that receives in Red Tractor certified product and further prepares it for sale as an ingredient component or final retail product is considered a Processor or Packer. This could be for sale to a final retail customer, a Wholesaler or another Processor or Packer business in the chain.

By use of the logo or a Red Tractor claim, their customers are given the confidence that their products have been produced to Red Tractor standards which means they are safe to eat and have been produced responsibly.

What does a Food Service licence cover and what type of businesses use this?

A Red Tractor Food Service licence is held by a business that makes or prepares food for general consumption by the public whether in a Restaurant, School, Pub, Catering Kitchen or Hospital.

Any Food Service provider that makes a Red Tractor claim as part of its sourcing policy and/or wider communication to consumers, either by using a logo or in any copy (for example, on a menu or website), must be a licensee. As Red Tractor is a whole-chain scheme, all businesses in the chain must be licensed including suppliers and end service providers

This demonstrates to the public that the product you are selling has been produced in the UK to Red Tractor standards and is fully traceable through the supply chain back to a Red Tractor certified farm or farms.

What does a Wholesale/Distributor licence cover and what type of businesses use this?

A Red Tractor Wholesaler or Distributor licence is held by a company that takes delivery of Red Tractor certified products for distribution and will have a warehouse or distribution centre to deliver products directly to the customer.

Under the scheme, these businesses are involved in the re-distribution of certified Red Tractor products but they are prohibited from re-packing, labelling or processing the product in any way. Splitting outer cartons is permitted but individual packs cannot be tampered with, split or broken down further.

Wholesalers are an integral step in the supply chain, sourcing products from licensed Processors and Packers. Audits on Red Tractor Wholesalers and Distributors ensure that the products sold as Red Tractor are eligible and traceable.

What does a Trader licence cover and what type of businesses use this?

A Red Tractor Trader is someone who does not take physical ownership of the product at any time and all transactions are carried out electronically. This can also be a Broker or Purchasing Organisation.

Under the scheme, these businesses are involved in the purchase and sale of certified Red Tractor products but they are prohibited from physically handling the products.

Traders are an integral step in the supply chain, sourcing products from licensed Processors and Packers. Audits on Red Tractor Traders ensure that the products sold as Red Tractor are eligible and traceable.

What is the difference between a Wholesaler/Distributor and a Trader and which licence should I apply for?

Under the Red Tractor scheme, a Wholesaler or Distributor takes delivery of products for distribution; they will have a warehouse/distribution centre and deliver products directly to the customer.

A Red Tractor Trader does not handle the product at any time and all transactions are carried out electronically.

Please see our FAQs on Wholesaler/Distributor licences and on Trader licences for more information.

Our compliance and checks

What are the technical requirements for becoming a licensee?

Red Tractor products must be certified at each stage of the production chain. For more guidance on how you will need to demonstrate this to obtain a licence, please go to our Licence Types and Requirements page.

How do you ensure that other licensees are compliant?

All licensees are visited regularly by independent auditors who carry out Traceability Challenges and check that all the necessary processes and systems are in place to verify compliance. This ensures that the products are eligible to be sold with a Red Tractor logo or claim and that our standards have been met at each and every step of the supply chain.

What is a Traceability Challenge and why do they need to be carried out?

Traceability Challenges enable us to maintain the integrity of Red Tractor and the logo. They help us to ensure that our logo is used correctly and only on qualifying products. This is why, in the terms and conditions of our licence, we request access to our licensees’ sites to carry out an audit.

What does a Traceability Challenge involve?

Traceability Challenges check that all the necessary processes and systems are in place to verify compliance and ensure that the logo or Red Tractor claim is only used on eligible products. This typically includes looking at procurement, labelling and staff training.

The auditor will select a number of products to check along with production dates on the day of the audit, these could be any products produced since the last Traceability Challenge. The relevant paperwork will need to be produced for these products to show compliance with Red Tractor Standards and, for Processors, Packers, Wholesalers and Distributors, the production and/or storage areas will also be subject to checks against our standards.

There will be a mass balance check and, if raw material is bought in, quantities will be reconciled against invoices.

How much does the Traceability Challenge cost?

The cost of your Traceability Challenge audit is included in your licence fee.

Do I need to have an audit before I become licensed?

No, our licences are issued on a self-assessment basis based on the information you provide in the application. Once your licence has been approved, our third-party assessor will visit you to carry out a Traceability Challenge. This is usually within a number of weeks after the licence is approved.

About our licences

Why do I need a licence?

For the food industry we provide a buying specification across the entire food chain that is robust and independently certified to a set of world-leading standards.

The Red Tractor logo is a registered Trademark and can only be used by licensed companies. In order for your food and drink to carry our logo, or to make claims about Red Tractor to your customers, the whole supply chain must be certified by independent inspectors at every stage from farm to pack including farms, transport, livestock markets, food processing and packing. As a licensee, you are an integral part of this chain.

By using Red Tractor to validate your supply chain, you can reduce risk and complexity that helps to demonstrate the due diligence that customers and consumers demand. This can open up trading opportunities for your company and we may be able to create new opportunities by introducing you to potential customers.

Why should I become a licensee?

Provenance and traceability are increasingly important to consumers. Red Tractor continues to build consumer confidence in UK food and farming by being the only whole-chain scheme that ensures food and drink has been checked from farm to pack.

Today our logo is the most recognised food assurance logo with 70% of British shoppers and diners already familiar with the Red Tractor. For them, our logo is a mark of confidence that food and drink is traceable, safe and farmed with care.

By using Red Tractor to validate your supply chain, you can reduce risk and complexity and demonstrate the due diligence that customers and consumers demand.

We also provides a platform to deliver greater returns by driving a premium for UK product in retail, increasing category share in foodservices and providing a route to access new export markets.

To find out more on why you should be part of the UK’s leading scheme for food quality and traceability, visit our What are the Benefits of Red Tractor? page.

How do I obtain a license?

You will need to complete an online application via our portal service.

How much does it cost?

The licence fee is calculated according to the sales value of the product(s) you are promoting or trading. As a new licensee, this can be estimated in the first year.

How long does it take?

As soon as your application has been approved and the licence fee has been paid and processed, you will be able to download your Red Tractor Licence Certificate.

Which logo can I use?

There are three different types of Red Tractor logo. The type of Red Tractor product you are involved in producing will determine which of the three logos you can use. You can find more information on using our logo here.

How long is my licence valid for?

All licence types are valid for one year from 1st April to 31st March.

How often do I need to renew my licence?

All licence types need to be renewed every year.