Shoppers eschew own label burgers in wake of horse meat scandal, Nielsen finds

Burger sales trends

Burger sales trends

Retail sales of frozen burgers, the product that sparked the horse meat revelations last month, are down 40% year-on-year to 2 February 2013, according to new figures from Nielsen. 

But the decline is almost entirely down to shoppers eschewing own label burgers, while sales of branded burgers have so far held up, said researchers. In addition, a Nielsen survey shows 67% of British adults say they are now less likely to purchase processed meat products in the future.

Nielsen retail figures show:

•       Sales of frozen burgers were down 40% in value (and 43% by volume) in the week ending 2 February 2013 compared to the same week last year

•       Over 900,000 households have stopped shopping the frozen burger category in light of the horse meat revelations, although 1.6m households still bought from the category in the four weeks to 2 February 2013.

•       All major retailers have seen a decline in sales as consumer confidence takes a severe blow

A Nielsen consumer survey conducted last week shows:

•       96% are of UK adults are aware of the horse meat news; 74% are concerned about it

•       More consumers are upset about being misled on food content, rather than about actually having eaten horse meat

•       Consumers are more likely to change the foods they buy, rather than switch retailer

•       67% of adults are now less likely to purchase processed meat products in the future

(Based on 1,062 UK adults, surveyed between 11-13 February 2013 – full details in attached charts)

Figures for the 12 weeks to 2 February 2013, show sales of branded frozen burgers are actually on a slight upwards trend. 

Nielsen frozen food analyst, Richard Anderson, said“Shoppers are showing confidence in branded burgers, believing the horse meat issues are confined to retailer own-label products. Those continuing to buy frozen burgers have either shifted to buying branded products from ownlabel, or have added branded products to their repertoire of purchases. Given the confidence in brands, and horse meat is now a wider issue than just burgers, we expect the frozen burger category – which sparked the recent revelations – to recover.”