Horse meat scandal impacts frozen burger and ready meal sales, Kantar shows

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Grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, published today for the 12 weeks ending 17 February 2013, reveal the impact of the first five weeks of the horse meat scandal, which broke on 16 January 2013.

Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “The issue has so far only affected the performance of individual markets rather than where consumers are choosing to shop. For the four weeks ending 17 February 2013, frozen burger sales were down by 43% and frozen ready meals declined by 13%, clearly demonstrating a change in shopping habits.

“Tesco’s share has come under pressure this period, with a drop from 30.1% a year ago to 29.7% now. It might seem natural to attribute this decline to the horse meat contamination; however, Tesco undertook heavy promotions this time last year, where consumers received a £5 voucher when they spent £40, and not repeating this offer will have adversely affected its share.”

Within the big four, Sainsbury’s is the only retailer to increase share this period, beating the market with a 4.6% growth rate. Morrisons is the only retailer to post a sales decline.  

Garner said: “Waitrose and Aldi deliver all-time record shares this period of 4.8% and 3.3% respectively indicating market polarisation and the ‘two nations’ consumer climate continues. Iceland records 10.1% growth confirming the frozen food category as a whole remains robust.”

The total grocery market is growing at an annual rate of 3.7% which lags behind grocery price inflation of 4.3%, said Kantar Worldpanel. This confirms the continued pressure on shoppers who are using coping strategies to reduce their personal inflation rate.