Ikea, Tesco and other big retailers have been mentioned in 171,440 comments on social media since the outbreak of the horsemeat scandal on 14 January.

More comments were posted about Ikea (81,107) and Tesco (35,110) than any other retailer, according to analysis provided by global social media monitoring expert Synthesio, which also looked at whether the comments were negative, neutral or positive.

On 25 February, when the Czech Republic’s veterinary administration announced that packs of frozen meatballs destined for Ikea’s customers contained traces of horse DNA, 56,362 comments were posted online about Ikea – 5,153 of them negative.

The Swedish retailer halted the distribution of its meatballs to 13 European countries, including the UK, but this did not stop a further 4,000 negative comments being published within a week.

The company had previously sold an average of 60,000 portions a week in its UK and Irish stores’ cafeterias as well as 13,850 frozen packs in the stores’ ‘Swedish’ food market.

Tesco received 5,340 negative comments during the period up to 5 March after it was discovered that burgers supplied to UK supermarkets by Silvercrest Foods in Ireland and Dalepak Hambleton in Yorkshire (both subsidiaries of the ABP Food Group) were found to contain traces of horse DNA.

Synthesio’s analysis covered mainstream social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs as well as non English-language sites such as the Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo.

Despite the furore surrounding horsemeat, the analysis found the majority of comments posted online about retailers have been neutral.