Horsemeat: Beef sales remain steady despite horsemeat scandal

Despite the horsemeat scandal, fresh and frozen beef sales have remained robust over the past few months, according to recent figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

The figures look at the four-week period to 17 February and showed that the value of beef purchases had risen 2% in the last four weeks, despite a 1% drop in volume.

Steaks and mince volume sales increased by 14% in the same time period, but fresh and frozen beef burger volumes saw a 35% drop compared to last year.

Frozen meals saw a drop compared with the same period last year, which, according to Eblex, is likely to be due to the contamination scandal.

Eblex sector director Nick Allen said: "The beef sales data is reassuring. Millions of packs of beef products have been removed from sale, which inevitably has a negative effect on the bottom line figures, so to see just a 1% fall in volume means more people are turning to fresh, assured beef, trading up from value-end products.

"Throughout the crisis, we have been pushing the message that consumers need to look for fresh, assured beef products to give confidence in provenance and traceability, and these figures do suggest that is happening.

"A 1% swing one way or the other is seen regularly in the ebb and flow of sales figures, so to have this set against the backdrop of horsegate in encouraging. However, it still remains to be seen whether or not there is any long-term damage to trade," he added.

Eblex further reported that it was difficult to establish the specific reason for the consumer change, as it could either be due to consumer concerns or the removal of the contaminated products.

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