Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Red Tractor Licence?
A Red Tractor Licence gives a Licensee permission to claim to source and supply Red Tractor Assured Products and to use the Logo(s) and/or Red Tractor terminology i.e., RT, RTA, RT Assured on product, paperwork, marketing materials, menus and websites, subject to the terms and conditions of the Licensing Agreement.
As we are a whole-supply-chain assurance scheme, sites processing and packing, wholesaling, trading or serving products and making a Red Tractor claim, are required to hold the appropriate Red Tractor Licence and receive regular Traceability Challenges.
This process enables Red Tractor to verify that Red Tractor claimed products are eligible to carry the claim and are traceable through each stage of production back to the farm or farms of origin.
Why does Red Tractor charge a licence fee?
As with most assurance schemes and food marques, Red Tractor charges a licence fee to businesses within the supply chain when a claim is being made or the logo is being used.
Red Tractor operates as a not-for-profit, and all licence fees are invested back into the business model to cover the cost of Traceability Challenges, administering the programme and marketing to consumers.
More than 7 out of 10 UK main shoppers recognise and trust the Red Tractor logo1 and its standards form the basis of buying and sourcing specifications for major UK supermarkets, household brands and restaurant chains.
1Source: YouGov data Sept 2023 – 2,231 UK shoppers
Do I need a Licence?
If you want to make a claim that you source and supply Red Tractor Assured products, whether or not you apply the Red Tractor Logo(s) to those products, you will need a Red Tractor Licence.
Consumers trust us to assure products as traceable, safe and farmed with care and consumer trust is what sets us apart.
This is the reason we do not allow any person, brand or business, to use our Logos or make any product claims about Red Tractor assurance unless licensed by us to do so.
Being a Red Tractor Licensee means your products can be sold as Red Tractor Assured.
Do I need a Licence if I am a Food for Life (FFL) member?
If you want to make a claim that you source and supply Red Tractor Assured products, whether or not you apply the Red Tractor Logo(s), including on your product, paperwork (invoices/delivery notes etc.), marketing materials, menus and websites, you will need a Red Tractor Licence.
If you’re an organisation that supplies public bodies such as Schools, Universities and Local Authorities, Red Tractor can enable you to meet the sourcing criteria and provide your customers with the confidence that the whole supply chain is working to our standards.
Having a Red Tractor Licence ensures you meet the Food for Life Bronze standard B1.2 by providing assurance that UK farms are independently inspected to high standards (which exceed minimum UK welfare standards), and exceed the Food for Life standard through requiring whole chain assurance at each key point in the supply chains from farms through to pack.
What type of Licence do I need?
We offer four different types of Licence.
Processor, Packer or Catering Butcher
For our purposes, if you are a catering butcher or a business that receives in Red Tractor Assured livestock and/or product and processes it in an open product environment for sale as a Red Tractor claimed ingredient or final retail product you will need to apply for a Red Tractor Processor & Packer Licence.
Your suppliers and customers may need to hold a valid Red Tractor Licence too and you will also need to keep your own Red Tractor Licence status valid through meeting our licensing eligibility criteria (third-party certification).
As a Red Tractor Processor & Packer, you may need to declare your Red Tractor suppliers (depending on your type of business) and you will need to declare your products and customers at the application stage and keep these details up to date. Packaging artwork where a Red Tractor claim is made must be approved by Red Tractor before use.
With a Red Tractor Wholesaler Licence, you can take possession of, store and sell Red Tractor claimed products but cannot re-pack, label or process the product in any way. Splitting outer cartons is permitted but individual packs cannot be opened or tampered with in any way.
As a Red Tractor Wholesaler, you will need to declare your Red Tractor products, licensed suppliers and customers at the application stage and keep these details up to date.
Trader or Purchasing Organisation
You will need a Red Tractor Licence if you are a Trader which sells Red Tractor claimed products but does not take physical possession of or store any such products.
As a Red Tractor Trader, you will be required to declare your customers, licensed suppliers and products at the application stage and keep these details up to date.
Food Service, Contract Caterer, Out-of-Home Retailer or Restaurant
Whether you are making or preparing food for the general public in a Restaurant, School, Pub, Catering Kitchen or Hospital for general consumption by the public, if you make a Red Tractor claim in any part of what you do, you must be licensed.
As a Red Tractor Food Service Licensee, you will be required to declare at the application stage, your licensed suppliers, products and all outlets that will be serving and advertising Red Tractor Assured products. These details must be kept up to date.
Where do I go to apply for a Licence?
New Licensees can register by clicking on the link below or via the Red Tractor website via Checkers and Services. Click Register for Access and select Licensees and your type of business:
- Wholesaler – takes possession of product for further distribution. Product must not be altered in any way (no cutting, splitting of individual packs or relabelling)
- Trader – has no physical contact with the product, all trading is carried out electronically
- Food Service – a company serving food to the public (e.g. Restaurants, Hospitals, Universities, Schools, Contract Catering)
Here’s the link:
Does the Licence auto-renew?
The Licence expires on the 31/3 unless renewed. Licensees are invited by email in January each year to renew their Licence before their current Licence expires.
If a Licence expires and is not renewed, the business can no longer make a Red Tractor claim.
It is important to keep the contact details updated for anyone who is responsible for your Red Tractor Licence, and you can do this via our licensing portal.
I am an existing Licensee and need to renew my Licence, where do I go?
Click on the link below or go to the Assurance website and login via Checkers and Services:
I have forgotten my login details
Go the Checkers and Services homepage to request a password reminder:
If you have forgotten your username please contact our Licensing Team:
How do I complete the application?
The application is divided into three sections:
- Technical Approval
- Sales Value and Licence Fee
- Licence Agreement
Section 1 – Technical Approval
Your technical information must be submitted and approved by Red Tractor before you can proceed to the next section.
You will be asked to enter details of your technical operations, suppliers (depending on your type of business), products and customers. Processors and Packers will also need to demonstrate that their site is eligible (see Eligibility section below) by demonstrating they have the appropriate third-party certification.
If you have any of the following:
– BRCGS Food Safety valid certificate
– Red Tractor Meat & Poultry Processing valid certificate
– Red Tractor Fresh Produce Farm valid certificate (where you are a fresh produce processor/packer and are only packing your own Red Tractor Assured Produce)
your certificate will be matched to your application automatically.
Section 2 – Sales Value and Licence Fee
The fee is based on your aggregated invoiced sales value of Red Tractor claimed products sold, whether or not the products carry the Red Tractor Logo(s). The sales period is April 1st to March 31st.
For existing Licensees, the actual declared sales value from the previous year is used to calculate the annual fee.
For example, declared invoice sales value for 23/24 will be used to calculate the 25/26 Licence fee.
The sales period is April 1st to March 31st, as is the licence period
New applicants should enter a forecast of sales for the next twelve months.
Section 3 – Licence Agreement
As a Licensee you must read and agree to the Terms and Conditions of the Licence. Acceptance of these Terms and Conditions must have been approved by someone who has authority e.g. a director, partner or other duly authorised person and the name and position of the authorised person must be entered on the licensing portal. The Agreement can be read at any time by logging in to your Licence account.
How is the Licence fee calculated?
We keep our fees as low as possible to encourage greater use of our Logo(s) and claim. Red Tractor promotes food that is farmed with care and affordable for all.
The Licence fee is calculated as a % of declared invoice sales value:
0.03% for non-livestock products
0.05% for livestock products.
There is a minimum fee and a maximum fee and all fees exclude VAT.
Can the Licence fee be paid in instalments?
The Licence must be paid in full at the time of application or renewal. After the Licence fee has been paid, the Licence Certificate can be downloaded.
Sales of Red Tractor products fell this year – will my fee be reduced?
Licence fees are based on the previous year’s sales value. Any significant changes this year will be reflected in next year’s fee.
How do I provide a Purchase Order Number?
There is an option to provide a PO number in the Sales Value section.
We set our budgets before the renewal period – how can I find out what it will be?
You should be able to calculate your fee based on the set percentages for your sector (with the exception of minimum fee payers) and your declared invoice sales value for the previous year.
For illustration purposes only:
A cheese processor declared £4,000,000 invoice sales value for Red Tractor claimed product.
The prevailing % for the Livestock sector is 0.05%.
£4,000,000 x 0.05% = £2,000 licence fee
If you need confirmation, please contact our Licensing partnership team:
When will I receive my invoice?
Your invoice will be issued when all sections of the application have been completed and approved.
How long will it take to become licensed?
As soon as all sections have been submitted and approved, an invoice will be issued. At busy times of the year, the approval process and processing of the fee may take several days. As soon as payment has been received and processed your Licence Certificate will be available to download from the portal.
I manage more than one site, can these be managed as a group or does each site need their own Licence?
You can manage the administration centrally, however each site must have its own Licence.
This is because we are a whole-supply-chain assurance scheme and each key point in the supply chain needs to be licensed to ensure the chain of assurance is not broken, third party certification is in place and we have oversight to trace product back to the farms it originated from.
If you would like further information, please contact our Licensing Team:
Adding Products, Suppliers and Customers
During the licensing year, if you sell a new Red Tractor claimed product SKU or need to tag a new supplier or add a new customer, as per the Terms and Conditions of your Licence Agreement, we ask that you update these details on our portal. You must request for your details to be opened for editing by contacting our Licensing Team before you can login. When adding products, all artwork with the Red Tractor Logo must be approved by the Licensing Team before use. If the product is anything other than a Certified Standard product (95% or more assured ingredient), the recipe/ list of ingredients (with % of ingredient) must be sent to our Licensing Team for approval.
See guidance via the following link:
I can’t find my supplier using the online search?
If you need to add a new supplier, when searching you must first choose their assurance scheme (applicable to RT fresh producer farm members or RT Meat Processing members if supplying only beef/sheep/pork split carcasses, fores and/or quarters) or RT Licence number. Use as many identifiers as you can to get a positive match e.g. postcode
For more help, please see guidance.
If they can’t be found, they may not be eligible (not a scheme member or not licensed or membership or licence may be suspended).
It’s important that you contact our Licensing Team to check:
Can I remove a product or supplier?
No, neither can be removed until the following licensing year. You can de-select products and suppliers when you renew your Licence.
Red Tractor Eligibility Criteria (Third-Party Certification)
Our licensing eligibility criteria is the third-party certification required at each key stage within a Red Tractor Assured supply chain.
Depending upon your product and type of business process, you must hold the appropriate eligibility criteria (third-party certification).
For more information and guidance on our eligibility criteria, please contact the Licensing Team:
What is a Traceability Challenge?
A TC, which includes a site tour, assesses the systems in place to ensure that the product/s being sold with a Red Tractor claim are eligible to carry the claim, that paperwork accurately identifies Red Tractor product and verifies through a physical trace that it can be traced back through the Red Tractor Assured supply chain to the farm/farms of origin.
It is not a full system audit as this would duplicate the work undertaken as part of the third-party certification audits, such as BRCGS. It is an assessment of a Licensee’s traceability system which includes back to farms traces, a forward trace and a mass balance.
Traceability challenges are not assessments against a defined set of standards, however, non-conformances can be raised against a list of areas.
The non-conformance checklist used during traceability challenges can be found using the following link:
Who carries out the Traceability Challenges?
Traceability Challenges are carried out by a dedicated pool of assessors, working on Red Tractor’s behalf.
How long will the Traceability Challenge take?
Depending upon the size of your business, anywhere from half a day to a full day.
Will I be charged for the Traceability Challenge?
The cost of the routine Traceability Challenge is covered by your Licence fee. However, if any additional TCs are required due to critical non-compliance, these will be at the Licensee’s expense.
Are Traceability Challenges unannounced?
All challenges at processor and packer, wholesale and food service outlet sites are unannounced. If applicable, please ensure you complete the relevant question regarding unsuitable days (maximum of 15) when your site may not be able to accommodate an unannounced TC.
Does an Operations or Technical Manager need to be present?
It naturally assists the process if an Operations or Technical Manager is on site, but as the TC is not a systems audit, they can be conducted with only other staff present e.g. QA.
The site may not be operating during certain times of the year – do I need to let the assessor know?
You must inform us if the site is closing for any reason (maintenance for example), or if only packing a seasonal product. Please ensure that you complete the relevant questions regarding planned closure in the operations section of the application.
How often are Traceability Challenges carried out?
Challenges are carried out according to perceived level of risk.
Can anyone use the Red Tractor Logo(s)?
Red Tractor©, Red Tractor Assured©, Red Tractor Assurance©, Red Tractor Certified Standards© and Logo(s) are trademarks registered by Assured Food Standards.
Only approved and licensed companies can use the trademarks or the Logo(s) on product, paperwork, marketing materials, menus or websites and then only in accordance with the Licence Agreement.
The trademarks and Logo(s) cannot be used on products, websites, marketing materials, paperwork and in any communication to promote food that is not Red Tractor Assured.
How many Logo types are there?
We have a suite of Logos. For more information about our Logos & Brand Guidelines, contact our Licensing Team: email@example.com.
Please quote your licence number in all correspondence.
How is the % of Red Tractor Assured ingredient calculated?
To calculate whether a product is eligible to carry the Logo and which Logo should be used, % ingredients at mixing bowl stage (raw ingredients before processing) must be provided. Total ingredients must equal 100%.
CORE ‘CERTIFIED STANDARDS’ LOGO FOR PRODUCTS WHERE THE CERTIFIED INGREDIENT MAKES UP AT LEAST 95% OF THE FINISHED PRODUCT.
The Core ‘Certified Standards’ Logo is for products where the Red Tractor certified ingredient makes up at least 95% of the finished product (we allow a 5% tolerance for seasoning). It is used on single ingredient food such as meat, fresh produce and milk and can also be used for composite products such as a bag of mixed salad leaves.
CORE ‘NAMED INGREDIENT’ LOGO FOR PRODUCTS WHERE THE CERTIFIED INGREDIENT MAKES UP 94% OR LESS OF THE FINISHED PRODUCT.
The ‘Named Ingredient’ Logo is for products where the Red Tractor certified ingredient(s) makes up 94% or less of the finished product. For example, the ‘chicken’ in a chicken kiev or items in multi-ingredient products such as ready meals, sandwiches, hot and cold pies.
Other licensing criteria apply, however a summary of key criteria for using this Logo are:
- The characterising ingredient(s) must be named, this can include two Red Tractor certified ingredients such as chicken and mushroom
- 100% of the characterising ingredient(s) must be certified to Red Tractor standards
- Additional ingredients must meet the eligibility criteria, for example stocks, gelatine and eggs
- In products containing two proteins, such as steak and kidney or chicken and ham, both proteins must be certified to Red Tractor standards
- On multi-ingredient products, the claim must relate to the characterising ingredient and this will normally be the protein, for example the beef in a lasagne. We do not allow secondary ingredients to be highlighted if the characterising ingredients are not Red Tractor certified
- On multi-ingredient products, main ingredients other than the characterising ingredient, such as the potato in a shepherd’s pie, will ideally be Red Tractor certified wherever possible.
For more information, please contact our Licensing Team.
Example: A marinated and cooked chicken product. Ingredients at mixing bowl stage as follows:
Water (in marinade): 22%
Spices (in marinade): 18%
Water is removed from the calculation which makes the total 78%.
78 (total) x 100 = 77%
ENHANCED WELFARE’ LOGO FOR CHICKEN PRODUCTS WHERE THE CERTIFIED INGREDIENT HAS BEEN ASSURED TO RED TRACTOR ENHANCED WELFARE STANDARDS, MEETS OUR ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA AND MAKES UP AT LEAST 95% OF THE FINISHED PRODUCT.
Underpinned by all the Certified Standards, the ‘Enhanced Welfare’ Logo is for chicken products where additional welfare requirements have been met. These include the use of slower growing breeds with over 28% more space than is required by European legislation and guaranteed natural light.
‘FREE RANGE’ LOGO FOR POULTRY PRODUCTS WHERE THE CERTIFIED INGREDIENT HAS BEEN ASSURED TO RED TRACTOR FREE RANGE STANDARDS, MEETS OUR ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA AND MAKES UP AT LEAST 95% OF THE FINISHED PRODUCT.
Underpinned by all the Certified Standards, the ‘Free Range’ Logo is for poultry products where the birds have had access to outdoor ranges for at least half of their life.
Does the Logo on artwork need to be approved?
All draft artwork bearing any of the RT Logos must be sent to the Licensing Team for approval before going to print:
Please send the product details i.e. recipe with % of ingredient, to the Licensing Team who will check that the recipe meets our requirements before sending the appropriate Logo to you by email.
Marketing and Resources
As a Licensee we encourage you to use the Logo(s) in your communication and marketing. Apart from the obvious benefits of building consumer trust in traceability and provenance, Red Tractor can help your business grow in other ways too. We work with our Licensees to develop bespoke campaigns, brand support, consumer communication, joint messaging, launch new products, share digital promotional activity and industry relevant content.
Our media campaigns reach in excess of 45 million primary shoppers annually and we reach thousands of followers through our digital platform. This is a fantastic resource for our Licensee partners.
It is essential that Licensees have knowledge of Red Tractor requirements and their role in maintaining the assured status of the products they are handling. If you think your organisation could benefit by talking to the Red Tractor Licensing Team, please get in touch.