Horsemeat prompts dumping of 18M processed food packets

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food

Worries about horsemeat prompted consumers to ditch 18M packets of processed food
Worries about horsemeat prompted consumers to ditch 18M packets of processed food
Nearly 18M packets of processed food were dumped by British families after the horsemeat crisis, according to a new survey commissioned by kitchenware manufacturer Tefal.

The research conducted by ICM revealed that 17.87M processed food items – including burgers, sausages and meat pies – were binned by consumers after the horsemeat crisis hit the headlines in January. More than 13,500t of food were thrown away, according to the researchers.

Nearly one third (30%) of consumers said the scandal had deterred them from eating processed meals. (See the end of this article for details of our free one-hour webinar​ on the lessons to be learnt from the crisis).

Just under 2.8M people said the crisis had prompted them to throw away processed meals.

Cut down on processed food

The survey also revealed that nearly a quarter of Britons (24%) have cut down on the amount of processed food they eat.

Shoppers spent £66.36 per week on groceries.  Processed food accounted for £11.34, while fresh food made up £33.89 of the total.

They survey – conducted in advance of the firm’s Fresh Week – identified that people are eating 20% more British apples, garden peas, cauliflower and cabbage.

Meanwhile, more information about the impact of the horsemeat crisis on shoppers’ buying habits will be available in the Food Manufacture​ Group’s free one-hour webinar at 11am GMT on Thursday May 16.

The webinar – Horsemeat: learning the lessons of an avoidable crisis – will feature Kiti Soininen, head of Mintel’s UK food and drink research team. Soinien will focus on how the horsemeat crisis has affected shoppers’ buying habits and what lessons can be learned from previous foodscares.

Red meat and frozen ready meals

Her presentation will compare consumer interest in British and local food and its traceability before and after the horsemeat scandal. It will also include lessons from previous food crises, as we chart the changing face of consumers’ preferences. A particular focus will be the effect of the horsemeat crisis on purchases of red meat and frozen ready meals.

Also taking part in the webinar will be Andrew Rhodes, director of operations with the Food Standards Agency who will examine the regulatory framework.

Professor Tony Hines, head of food security and crisis management at Leatherhead Food Research will put the horsemeat contamination in perspective with lessons learnt from previous food contamination scandals. He will also recommend how food businesses can guard the integrity of their supply chains.

Hilary Ross, partner with event sponsor DWF, will advise food and drink businesses on the legal framework surrounding the meat contamination crisis.

Book your free place at the webinar here.

Tefal research in numbers

  • 13.5k – tonnes of processed food dumped due to horsemeat
  • 18M – Number of processed food items thrown away
  • 30% – Percentage of consumers put off processed meals
  • Nearly 2.8M – People who ditched processed meals

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