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Sales of frozen burgers down 40% in the U.K., but shoppers show confidence in branded products
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Sales of frozen burgers down 40% in the U.K., but shoppers show confidence in branded products

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.  But the decline is almost entirely down to shoppers eschewing own-label burgers, while sales of branded burgers have so far held up, according to Nielsen. 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 Feb 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 Feb 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 horsemeat 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)

Nielsen analysis of the situation:

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

Nielsen frozen food analyst Richard Anderson explains: “Shoppers are showing confidence in branded burgers, believing that 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 own-label, or have added branded products to their repertoire of purchases.  Given the confidence in brands, and that horse meat is now a wider issue than just burgers, we expect the frozen burger category – which sparked the recent revelations – to recover.”