Sales of frozen burgers have plummeted 43% as the horse meat scandal damaged consumer confidence in the products, according to Kantar Worldpanel data.

Frozen ready meals declined by 13% in the four weeks to February 17 as lines were withdrawn and consumers shunned products.

Tesco’s market share stood at 29.7% in the 12 weeks to February 17 down from 30.1% last year and 30.4% in the 12 weeks to January 20 reported last month. Kantar attributed the drop to a money-off promotion run last year and not this year, rather than as a result of the horse meat scandal.

Tesco’s sales grew 2.4% in the latest 12-week period, behind the grocery market average at 3.7%.

Sainsbury’s, which has not been implicated in the horse meat crisis, was the strongest performer of the big four grocers as its sales grew 4.6% and it attained a 17% market share.

Asda sales grew 3.1% while Morrisons sales fell 1.3% in the 12 week period. Aldi continued to be the strongest performer in the market, recording a 30.1% surge in sales.

Kantar data leaked to Retail Week shows Tesco’s sales fell 0.4% in the four weeks to February 17 while Morrisons’ performance improved to a 0.7% fall. Asda grew 5% while Sainsbury’s grew 5.8% in the shorter period.

Kantar Worldpanel director Edward Garner said: “The issue has so far only affected the performance of individual markets rather than where consumers are choosing to shop. 

“It might seem natural to attribute [Tesco’s market share] decline to the horsemeat contamination; however, Tesco undertook heavy promotions this time last year, where consumers received a £5 voucher when they spent £40, and not repeating this offer will have adversely affected its share.”

He added: “Waitrose and Aldi deliver all-time record shares this period of 4.8% and 3.3% respectively indicating that market polarisation and the ‘two nations’ consumer climate continues. Iceland records 10.1% growth confirming that the frozen food category as a whole remains robust.”

The total grocery market is growing at an annual rate of 3.7% behind grocery price inflation of 4.3%. 

Full Kantar Worldpanel data below:

Total Till Roll - GB Consumer Spend
  12 weeks to 19 February 2012  12 Weeks to 17 February 2013 % Change
 £000s%   ** £000s %   **%
Total Till Roll34,356,190  35,165,930 2.4
 Total Grocers     24,990,870100.0%      25,920,530100.0%3.7
   Total Multiples       24,486,77098.0%         25,397,10098.0%3.7
      Tesco           7,533,01930.1%            7,711,11829.7%2.4
      Total Asda           4,453,04517.8%            4,592,87517.7%3.1
        Asda           4,453,04517.8%            4,592,87517.7%3.1
        Netto                      -  0.0%                        -  0.0%n.a
      Sainsbury’s           4,212,08616.9%            4,406,14917.0%4.6
      Morrisons           3,107,40212.4%            3,066,32411.8%-1.3
      The Co-operative             1,600,9436.4%            1,605,2886.2%0.3
        Co-operative             1,598,0486.4%            1,605,2886.2%0.5
        Somerfield                 2,8950.0%                        -  0.0%-100.0
      Waitrose           1,141,8824.6%            1,243,8364.8%8.9
      Aldi              647,7622.6%               842,7613.3%30.1
      Lidl              653,4682.6%               725,2122.8%11.0
      Iceland              526,1842.1%               579,2592.2%10.1
      Farm Foods              140,2900.6%               128,8030.5%-8.2
      Other Multiples              470,6931.9%               495,4731.9%5.3
   Symbols & Indies            504,0962.0%              523,4322.0%3.8