Reputation Survey: Shoppers swap price for quality of goods

In the wake of the recent supermarket horsemeat scandal, the public has indicated a preference for quality over price, while Tesco's reputation has taken a hit, finds John Owens

Food for thought: OnePoll’s word cloud reveals the public’s view of supermarkets
Food for thought: OnePoll’s word cloud reveals the public’s view of supermarkets

As supermarkets fight to demonstrate their meat products are up to scratch, research shows shoppers are increasingly prioritising quality over price.

A joint PRWeek/OnePoll survey has revealed food quality is now the top priority for shoppers – usurping price, which was seen as most important by 40 per cent of those polled last April, but has now dropped ten percentage points.

The findings come shortly after a public outcry over findings that supermarket products may have contained unlabelled traces of horsemeat and pork DNA.

Tesco was at the centre of the recent publicity and took out full-page apologies in national newspapers. The company, which was the supermarket most associated with the issue by 91 per cent of those polled, also suffered a percentage drop in overall reputation compared with last April.

However, its decision to withdraw its products alongside Iceland and Lidl was popular, and despite overall disapproval of the revelations, 67 per cent would not change where they shopped as a consequence.

Waitrose is prized as having the best overall reputation and offering the best quality food. Among the brands with higher footfall Sainsbury’s fares best, with 22 per cent indicating it has the best reputation.

Eighteen- to 24-year-olds were among the most disapproving of the horsemeat scandal and – with 31 per cent having changed where they shopped in the last year – most likely to vote with their feet.

Supermarkets continue to win the battle against local independent retailers. Only 30 per cent said they would rather shop at the latter, down 16 percentage points on last April.





High awareness
93% of respondents were aware that traces of horsemeat were found in supermarket burgers 

Tesco bears brunt
91% associated Tesco with the issue more than any other supermarket 

Mixed reaction
56% said they would think less of a supermarket found to stock food containing unmarked horsemeat



Jim Hawker, co-founder, Threepipe

Over the past few weeks ‘horsegate’ has led to a fascinating series of events – from the uproar over Newsnight cooking horsemeat to the well-managed Tesco response.

However, the unknown factor is still how shoppers will react to this, especially as supermarkets continue to be dragged into this ongoing scandal.

Sixty-seven per cent of those surveyed said they would not change their shopping habits even if their supermarket stocked food containing horsemeat, and the fact only one in five shoppers has changed their supermarket in the past year suggests that the horsemeat issue isn’t going to lead to Tesco shoppers disappearing. There is the possibility that the high street is able to benefit from the impact this has on supermarkets.

However, while quality, reputation and trust are important factors for shoppers, when it comes to voting with their wallets value and convenience still appear to remain key.


Survey of 2,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in