Worcestershire Sauce maker Lea & Perrins may seek compensation from the Food Standards Agency in the wake of the Sudan 1 crisis.
The HP Foods subsidiary, whose web site was bombarded with 18,000 hits following last Friday’s announcement, is angered that the FSA failed to clarify it was not affected.
As The Grocer went to press, the FSA had not publicly cleared Lea & Perrins and consumers were under the mistaken impression it was affected.
Lea & Perrins said it had received reports of consumers throwing out the original Worcestershire Sauce, which contains chilli extract instead of powder, even though there was nothing wrong with it.
External affairs manager Gary Hayes said: “We are very worried that this is damaging our brand. We have been caught up in this by association and it is very frustrating.
“We have had to bring in extra consumer-care lines to deal with the volume of calls we have been receiving and we will have to look at the extra costs incurred. We are certainly not ruling out compensation.”
HP Foods marketing director Graham White said Lea & Perrins was “the Hoover of its category”, bagging a 99% share of the branded Worcester sauce market. “Sales data will be a critical factor in assessing the damage and we have been getting daily EPoS data from a couple of the top four retailers.
“The problem is, Worcester sauce is a generic and we are still waiting for action from the Food Standards Agency.”