Grocery shoppers are putting renewed emphasis on the quality of the food they buy in the wake of the horse meat controversy.

Nearly four in 10 shoppers said quality was their most important consideration when deciding which products to put in their baskets, an increase from 31% in December, before the crisis began.

IGD ShopperVista research for March revealed that older and more affluent customers are the most likely to deem quality to be the most important factor when buying food.

The trend looks likely to continue. An increasing number of shoppers stated they will focus more on quality in the next six months.

Consumer confidence in food quality was rocked after it emerged earlier this year that retailers including Tesco, Asda and The Co-operative had stocked beef products containing horse meat.

The European Commission this week revealed it found horse meat in up to 5% of beef products it tested.

Authorities across 27 EU countries conducted 7,259 tests on meat products and found that 193 samples contained horse meat and 16 contained anti-inflammatory drug bute.