Public confidence in supermarkets has reached its lowest point since the horse meat scandal over a decade ago, possibly due to concerns that retailers are taking advantage of the current cost of living crisis. The decrease in trust appears to stem from worries that stores are not adequately meeting the needs of shoppers. The grocery sector received a trust score of +30 in a recent survey conducted by consumer watchdog Which?, using a scale ranging from -100 to +100. This score is notably lower than the previous record low of +24, which was recorded during the horse meat scandal in 2013.
The horse meat controversy arose when it was revealed that products labeled as containing beef actually contained horse meat. In the recent survey, respondents expressed the belief that supermarkets and food manufacturers are not sharing the same financial challenges brought on by the cost of living crisis.
A participant in his 30s shared his perspective, stating that when retailers announce substantial profits, it contradicts their claims of assisting the nation during times of financial strain. The survey found that 78 percent of respondents have altered their shopping habits due to high food prices, with 54 percent opting for cheaper products.
Kate Aplin, representing Which?, highlighted that prolonged periods of rising food prices have contributed to the drastic decline in trust towards supermarkets, likening the current situation to the unsettling times of the horse meat scandal. Aplin suggested that supermarkets have the capacity to alleviate the financial stress faced by shoppers by making affordable budget items more available in convenience stores that tend to be costlier.