Meat sales in independent family-run butchers and farm shops have risen by 75 per cent in some areas while analysts believe sales of cheaper processed meat in supermarkets have fallen sharply, according to a report by the Telegraph.
A survey conducted in the wake of the horsemeat scandal has found that almost 50 per cent of shoppers will now avoid buying processed meat from affected supermarkets.
Thus far none of the major supermarkets implicated in to scandal – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons - have revealed trading figures since the controversy broke.
However, Morrisons suggested that shoppers were substituting processed meat for more expensive fresh meat, revealing it has seen an 18 per cent rise in sales at its fresh meat counters.
However, Morrisons has maintained that people trust its meat because the company owns its own abattoirs and can therefore trace its produce “from field to fork” although it cannot be 100 per cent sure of the same for its pre-prepared meals.
In a bid to regain favour with shoppers, supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda released a public letter on Friday 15 February saying they shared shoppers “anger and outrage”.
Adding: “We will do whatever it takes to restore public confidence in the food [that people] buy and eat."
Tesco chief executive Phil Clarke also promised to introduce “industry-leading benchmarking” on food testing and to “get to the bottom” of the crisis in his blog on the company site, whilst Waitrose claimed it will build a new in-house unit to produce a range of frozen meat products.
So far, the major supermarkets’ share prices have not been damaged.