Almost half of consumers say they are likely to avoid buying meat from grocers caught up in the horsemeat scandal despite the vast majority blaming suppliers and manufacturers for contamination of the food chain.
ICM research for Retail Week conducted over the weekend revealed 45% of shoppers believe they will avoid buying meat from grocers involved in the scandal, which include Tesco, Asda, The Co-operative, Iceland, Aldi and Lidl.
However nearly three quarters (73%) of consumers believe responsibility for the affair – which has led to retailers in the UK and Europe selling frozen meat products containing horse – lies with suppliers and manufacturers.
The research showed 66% of shoppers feel less confident about what goes into food as a result of the scandal, but consumers still have confidence in the general quality of meat in supermarkets - 46% rated it as being fairly or very high quality.
The survey showed older consumers tended to blame suppliers and manufacturers for the horsemeat row while younger consumers though responsibility lay with food regulatory bodies and the grocers.
ICM research director Nathan Bartlett said: “Shoppers still have an inherent trust in the quality of meat sold in UK supermarkets.
“Retailers have lost some trust because of what’s happened but it will only be short-term and once it is no longer in the media people will return to their old habits.”
Bartlett said young families were the most likely to shun retailers embroiled in the scandal as they are the most conscientious about what they feed their children.
Environment secretary Owen Paterson is meeting with MPs today to discuss the latest developments in the horse meat affair.