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Horse Meat Scandal Still Hurting One Year On

14 January 2014

UK - The discovery of unlicensed horsemeat in supermarket products in the UK last year has had a long-lasting impact on many British consumers.

According to an Ipsos MORI survey, as many as 31 per cent of British adults have changed the way they choose or buy food in the past 12 months, and almost all adults in the UK (95 per cent) remember the horse meat incident.

Of those who remember the incident, 10 per cent claim to have cut down on buying processed meat, eight per cent buy fewer ready-made meals, seven per cent buy more meat from high-street butchers and seven per cent also spend more time reading labels on food products before purchasing.

The majority of people surveyed by Ipsos MORI remembered that horsemeat was found in frozen food, particularly ‘frozen burgers’ (69 per cent) and ‘frozen ready meals’ (65 per cent).

Other products mentioned to include horsemeat are mince (38 per cent), pies and pasties (37 per cent), fresh ready meals (31 per cent) and fresh burgers (26 per cent)
Three out of every four adults polled by Ipsos MORI were able to cite at least one concern or issue emanating from the horsemeat incident. ‘Betrayal of trust’ was the most frequently mentioned concern (53 per cent), followed by ‘lack of control’ (48 per cent) and ‘lack of answers/accountability’ (34 per cent).

When asked what caused the incident, more than half (51 per cent) mentioned ‘regulators did not monitor the industry carefully’ (51 per cent).

A total of 40 per cent believe that ‘suppliers misled retailers to boost profits’, and 39 per cent believe ‘suppliers cut corners under pricing pressure from supermarkets’.

Tesco’s image was the most affected by the horsemeat incident: 20 per cent of adults now perceive the retailer less favourably. The next most affected is Iceland (14 per cent have a less favourable opinion).

Among manufacturer brands, Findus’ reputation has been particularly affected and is now perceived less favourably by 21 per cent of adults. This rises to 29 per cent among those aged 25-24. A total of 11 per cent of consumers now perceive Birds Eye and Rustlers less favourably.

Stephen Yap, Head of Ipsos MarketQuest, said: ‘The horsemeat scandal of 2013 is still fresh in the minds of many.

“The frozen-food industry in particular, Tesco and Iceland are most closely associated with the scandal and their reputations have yet to make a full recovery. It is clear that public confidence will take a long while yet to recover.”

TheMeatSite News Desk

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