British frozen food sales slump after horsemeat scare: study

British sales of frozen beef burgers collapsed by 43 percent and ready meals by 13 percent in the wake of the horsemeat scandal, data showed Tuesday from retail consultancy Kantar Worldpanel.

However, many Britons have changed the products they buy rather than where they shop, according to Kantar.

"The issue has so far only affected the performance of individual markets rather than where consumers are choosing to shop," said Kantar Worldpanel director Edward Garner.

"For the four weeks ending 17 February, frozen burger sales were down by 43 percent and frozen ready meals declined by 13 percent, clearly demonstrating a change in shopping habits."

Equine DNA was first discovered on January 16 in beefburgers in Britain and Ireland, countries where horsemeat consumption is generally taboo, sparking a Europe-wide health scare which is still ongoing.

The horsemeat scandal has left governments scrambling to figure out how and where the mislabelling happened in the sprawling chain of production spanning a maze of abattoirs and meat suppliers across Europe.