Findus has lost more than €1 million in France alone as a result of the horsemeat scandal, the head of the company’s French operations has revealed.

In his first interview since horsemeat was found in Findus lasagne two weeks ago, Matthew Lambeaux also told French magazine LSA that Findus was a “victim” of the horsemeat crisis, and that the company had been instrumental in uncovering the extent of the scandal. “Without Findus, we would still be eating horse,” Lambeaux said.

Sales of ready meals in France had fallen by 20% over the past two weeks, and Findus had paid a high price for the crisis, Lambeaux suggested. “We have lost more than €1 million in two weeks,” he said, adding these losses did not take into account additional costs incurred by Findus as a result of new DNA tests it had introduced.

To rebuild consumer trust and to ensure consumers did not move away from the Findus brand in the long term, Findus France would from now on use 100% French beef in products sold in France, Lambeaux added. Findus would also work on shortening its beef supply chain to ensure meat was not sourced through numerous intermediaries, he said.

In addition, Findus France has launched an advertising campaign in France to inform French consumers about what it was doing in response to the horsemeat crisis.

Lambeaux’s comments about Findus France come as Findus UK CEO Leendert den Hollander this week spoke out about the crisis in The Grocer.