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Most shoppers not swayed by horsemeat revelations, says survey

Date: February 14, 2014

Category: Industry news

A new survey has shown that most UK shoppers have not changed their buying habits due to the horsemeat scandal that broke in January 2013.

Among the minority that did admit to a rethink on what they buy, a tenth of those surveyed said that they no longer purchase as much processed meat as they did before the revelations occurred, while 8% have started to limit the number of ready meals. In 4% of cases, shoppers have been prompted to switch to a more vegetarian diet.

While the findings might suggest apathy, it seems that awareness of the items affected by the mislabelling is high. Participants were also asked to identify food products that were found to contain horsemeat, with 69% correctly noting that frozen burgers were one of the offenders, and 65% highlighting that frozen ready meals were also caught in the revelations. This suggests that shoppers may have been well clued-up on the possibility of lower-grade meat products being affected even before horsemeat contamination came into the public eye.

Despite this, 18% of respondents said that they have changed the stores at which they shop over the past 12 months, though not necessarily for reasons connected to the horsemeat scandal. With 8% of people saying they have started getting their groceries from small and independent stores more often, it suggests that greater emphasis on supply chain consistency and traceability among major retailers could aid confidence levels among their shoppers.