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Horse meat scandal erodes trust in UK supermarkets

21 February 2013

  • Despite blame mostly lying with suppliers of beef, 38% of shoppers are now less trusting of their main supermarket as a result of the scandal
  • Shoppers do not like the idea of eating horse meat and 19% would consider switching supermarket as a result of the presence of horse meat in products

London, 21th February 2013 – Research by Canadean Custom Solutions has found that UK shoppers are considerably more likely to attach blame to the suppliers of products as opposed to the supermarkets when it comes to the horse meat scandal. Nevertheless, the survey of 2,000 respondents has found that the crisis has further eroded trust in UK supermarkets, and whilst some believe media coverage on the topic has been exaggerated, most shoppers feel squeamish about the idea of eating horse meat.

UK shoppers are considerably more likely to “blame” the supplier of beef products (88%) as opposed to supermarkets (12%) when it comes to the horsemeat scandal, research conducted by Canadean Custom Solutions has found. This has undoubtedly had an impact on shopper attitudes and behaviours, with 51% saying they are now sceptical about the quality of meat stocked in their main supermarket. However, despite the vast majority shifting blame towards the suppliers, 38% of shoppers say that they are now less trusting of their supermarket as a result of the scandal. Perhaps more worrying for supermarkets, one in five (19%) said that they would be likely to switch their main supermarket if horse meat was found on the retailer’s shelves.

Overall, shoppers have concerns about the presence of horse meat on the aisles of UK retailers, with a considerably higher proportion saying this (60%) compared to those who believe the media coverage on the issue has been exaggerated (27%). When it comes to the reasons for concern over the scandal, shoppers are more likely not to like the idea of eating horse meat (55%) as opposed to horse meat potentially having a negative impact on their health (22%). This highlights how trust and transparency is the main thing bothering shoppers. The fact that four in ten are now less trusting of supermarkets indicates that many feel that the retailers could have done more to avoid the crisis, such as sourcing better suppliers, conducting more stringent quality checks etc, with the decision to source cheaper meat being the result of supermarkets looking to maximise profits.

Michael Hughes, Research Manager at Canadean Custom Solutions states “the horse meat crisis has further eroded levels of trust that shoppers place towards supermarkets. More than anything, shoppers value trust and transparency and while they primarily attach the blame to suppliers of the products, they also feel the supermarkets could have done more to prevent the crisis from happening”.

Horse meat scandal erodes trust in UK

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