Food labelling is a confusing issue for most consumers. Time pressed shoppers are confronted with an array of logos at the supermarket, many of which they won’t know the meaning of. One of these is the Red Tractor label. From the logo itself it’s hard to tell what the label represents. What it certainly doesn’t represent is high welfare standards but this is exactly what recent adverts on billboards, social media and in the national press claimed.
Last week, Compassion learned our complaint against the adverts which claimed “Red Tractor pork is high welfare pork” has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which judged them misleading.
This is a positive thing for consumers, who deserve to be able to make an informed choice to buy meat from high welfare systems. It’s also positive that the adverts were even trying to claim high welfare standards in the first place, as surely this proves it is a powerful message that sells products.
Compassion objected to the claim for many reasons, which included the fact that Red Tractor allows slatted flooring and farrowing crates. You can read our complaint letter to see our reasoning in detail. But at the heart of our objection is the question of fairness. The claim was unfair to consumers because it mislead them and it was unfair to those pig farmers who do deliver high welfare on their farms and deserve to be able to use that as a point of differentiation in their marketing.
We all deserve to be given an accurate picture of what we are buying. Now that the ASA has ruled that the claim was misleading, we can only hope that those behind the adverts take note and work harder not to deceive consumers in the future.