Shoppers are showing little sign that they have been scared off by bird flu with only Tesco and Somerfield reporting a dip in poultry sales.

Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Asda all said sales were unaffected. Sainsbury's added that calls to its customer care line had not risen since the weekend. This week, Sainsbury's, Asda and Tesco were running promotions on Bernard Matthews lines.

However a Tesco spokesman said: "There has been an inevitable dip in sales but we don't know if there is a correspondent increase in red meat."

Andrew Lewin, joint MD at turkey producer Cranberry Foods, said that while the avian flu outbreak could cause short-term problems for the poultry industry he believed its longer-term future was not in doubt.

"I'd be lying if I said it was of no concern but it depends on how consumers react. The last time avian flu came close to the consumer the reaction was limited and short-lived. I would still have faith in the British consumer to buy poultry."

The MLC's marketing director Richard Lowe said he would be surprised if there was a wholesale switch to red meat. "There might be a slight effect on poultry sales but when you have these scares people get concerned about whether there will be enough poultry, and buy stocks up." The British Meat Processors Association said it had not seen any substitute purchasing of red meat.

"Any increases in demand for red meat would be driven by orders from the retailers and that doesn't seem to have happened," said deputy director Maurice McCartney.

According to an online research of more than 25,000 people across Europe by The Nielsen Company, only one in 10 consumers would eat less poultry as a result of a threat of avian flu. "The impact on poultry consumption is minimal, probably due to the educational messages about food safety being issued by the media every time bird flu stories are covered," said group MD at ACNielsen UK and Ireland, Eleni Nicholas.