Market Research Shows Burger And Ready Meal Sales Hit In Horsemeat Scandal

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27th February 2013 12:39 - Food

The fallout form the horsemeat scandal rocking Britain has began to affect UK consumer behaviour.  Since the Food Safety Authority found horsemeat in the food supply chain in January, significant changes in retail trends and behaviour have been observed.  Data from Kantar Worldpanel has shown a dramatic decrease of 43% in the sales of frozen burgers while overall sales of frozen ready meals have also been hit, experiencing a 13% drop.

Tesco, who were implicated in the scandal when 100% horsemeat was found in its own-brand lasagnes, suffered its worst monthly fall (in the four weeks up to 17 February 2013) in the market share for 20 years.  Kantar suggested, however, that the causal link between the scandal and the drop may not be as strong as seems initially because when compared to last year Tesco have significantly fewer big promotions which will also contribute to shoppers staying away.  Retail analysis conducted by Barclays stated that despite this, "[Tesco] may indeed be suffering a degree of consumer backlash".

Edward Garner, director at Kantar, said: "There is still a huge rebuilding of trust for retailers to do. We won't see a bounce back in frozen meat sales for a while, until this has been resolved in the courts."

Morrisons, who run their own abattoirs, have reported a boost in fresh meat sales while the organic meat sector has also seen increases.  Local independent butchers have reported similar growths in sales.  For example, Riverford Organic Farms which delivers meat directly to the consumer has report a 41% growth in monthly sales when compared to the same period last year.  Andy Clarke, chief executive at Asda, stated that meat-free products have also seen a slight increase in sales too.

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