Negative consumer 'buzz' over horsemeat scandal starting to wear off
Brands and retailers caught up in the horsemeat scandal can take heart from a new survey for The Grocer showing public hostility towards them is waning.
The Grocer/YouGov BrandIndex survey gauged consumer opinion of 12 UK retailers and brands affected by horsemeat, including Tesco, Ikea, Findus, Birds Eye and Burger King, at three different points - before it broke, at its peak and finally this week.
BrandIndex’s ‘buzz score’ measures the negative and positive comments customers have heard about a brand.
Tesco saw its reputation plummet to one of the lowest scores recorded in February (-52.4), but its crisis management blitz helped it climb to -13.9 this week. The lowest score of all was recorded by Findus on 20 February, but it has since recovered to -28.6. Rival frozen food company Birds Eye’s reputation fell from 6.8 in January to -25.6 on 1 March, but has now bounced back to -5.8.
Morrisons appears to be the only winner from the scandal, which coincided with the launch of its Ant & Dec-fronted marketing push focusing on its meat and fish sourcing. Its buzz score rose to 13.8 this week, compared with 2.8 in January.
Sainsbury’s, which has not had any products test positive for horse, still saw a dip into negative public perception at the height of the crisis but has recovered to 14, although this is some way off its score of 24.3 on 15 January.
“Most brands appear to have bottomed out and now that horsemeat is fading from the headlines we are starting to see a recovery in terms of consumer perception,” said BrandIndex director Sarah Murphy.