Horsemeat scandal

Consumer // Shoppers 12.02.2013

Lloyd Burdett

Head of Global Clients and Strategy

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Meat

Implications of the horsemeat scandal in terms of consumer behaviour and trust

As the horsemeat scandal rumbles on, Kantar has been looking at the potential implications for supermarkets, manufacturers and the government in terms of consumer behaviour and trust.

A Kantar Poll shows just over a third of people are less likely to purchase processed meat as a result of the horsemeat revelations.

Kantar's The Futures Company say they would expect to see a changing attitude towards processed meat in the short term. People will find it hard to trust processed meat, unless they really know where it has come from.  That level of transparency is a real challenge for processed meat products versus fresh meat produce. Trust in some retailers could also be damaged as many of them now have their own-label of processed meat products.

Even before this scandal we were seeing an increased desire for transparency and for a demand for brands to 'keep it real' for consumers. That is likely to become stronger now.

Regardless of who is to blame, the events of the last few days only add to the feeling among many that big business is not looking out for the consumer, but instead looking out only for themselves. It drives a deeper sentiment of 'active distrust' of big business for many consumers.

The Government and regulatory bodies are also likely to be held somewhat responsible, in terms of providing a solution, as many consumers don't know what they can do, other than avoid the tainted products, and therefore feel reliant on the government to regulate and take action on their behalf.

This scandal has the potential to have some type of medium-long term impact, as there will be a segment of consumers who may have been turned off processed meat completely. At the moment, we are told the horsemeat poses no health risks for consumers, but if that situation was to change then we would expect to see a bigger long-term impact on consumer attitudes and behaviour.

Check out our February horsemeat poll, our April horsemeat poll or read more about the crisis in trust.

Source : The Futures Company

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