In a passionate letter to customers Cook co-founder Edward Perry said he was “absolutely, bloody furious” about the horsemeat scandal.

Fearing the frozen ready meals retailer would be tarred with the same brush as “big six” retailers, Perry sought to distance Cook’s mince-making process from the processed beef in ready meals caught up in the ‘horsegate’ scandal.

“The scandal that is unfolding is ultimately about fraud,” he wrote. “But the backdrop is of suppliers being under constant pressure to cut costs. It highlights why we have chosen never to supply one of the big six supermarkets, despite the sales potential. We remain a proudly independent food business.”