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One in Three Brits Ready to Eat Horsemeat

How news of illegal horsemeat in the food supply is affecting the behaviours of British consumers

Published:26 February 2013
Fieldwork:15 - 19 February 2013
Keywords:Food/diet, Government, horsemeat, Marketing, Retail, Shopping
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A new study announced by Ipsos MORI illustrates how news of illegal horsemeat in the food supply is affecting the behaviours of many British consumers – yet a large proportion of Brits would be happy to eat regulated and labelled horsemeat.

One in three (33 per cent) British people aged 16-75 say they will purchase less supermarket ready-meals in future, and 18 per cent say they will purchase fewer Findus products in particular.

Forty three per cent of the British public consider the response by Findus to the horsemeat crisis to be “poor”.

The British public are slightly less critical of other food brands affected by the crisis, with 35 per cent rating Tesco’s response as poor and 34 per cent for Aldi. 

12 per cent of British consumers say they will reduce their spending at Tesco.

A majority (59 per cent) believe that the British government should do more to regulate food safety.  Those aged 55 and over are particularly vocal in demanding more regulation (65 per cent versus 50 per cent of those aged 25-34).

This is despite the fact that a substantial proportion of Brits would be willing to eat horsemeat that has been correctly labelled and subjected to quality control. Men are more likely than women to be happy to eat horsemeat (35 per cent versus 28 per cent).

Across age groups, people aged 45-54 are the most likely to be willing horsemeat consumers (38 per cent), while those aged 16-24 are the least likely (21 per cent).

Head of MarketQuest at Ipsos MORI, Stephen Yap, said:

“Our findings clearly show that the news of horsemeat entering the food supply is having a profound impact on British consumers and has eroded trust in food suppliers. Findus in particular is bearing the brunt of public anger, with widespread calls for greater government intervention.  As the scandal deepens and new instances of horsemeat contamination are uncovered on an almost daily basis, regulators and the food industry must work quickly and take decisive steps to restore consumer confidence that could be damaged for a long time to come.”

Technical Note:

The research was conducted on i:omnibus, Ipsos MORI’s online panel omnibus, between Friday 15th February and Tuesday 19th February 2013. Questions were asked online of 1,008 adults aged between 16 and 75 across Great Britain. The survey data were weighted by age, gender, region, working status and main household shopper to be nationally representative of British adults aged 16 - 75. Full data tables are available upon request.

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