The horsemeat scandal has led to around 60 per cent of consumers in the UK changing their food habits, with nearly a third buying less processed meats like burgers, while one in four now avoided meat-based ready meals.
Consumers have been turning away from meat-based food, while sales of meat-alternative brand Quorn have surged by 15 per cent and fish by 20 per cent (See: UK consumers give meat foods thumbs down after horse meat scandal).
Shoppers were left stunned by the discovery of high levels of horsemeat in products from major stores and brands ranging from Tesco and Burger King to Findus and Birds Eye (See: Tesco withdraws beef products following horse DNA finding and Burger King apologises for serving horsemeat).
The controversy had also drawn in schools, care homes and hospitals, as they too unwittingly ended up as purveyors of horsemeat-adulterated beef.
Consumer group Which? found that the food industry had lost the trust of buyers even as people changed their eating habits.
The organisation has urged the government to initiate urgent steps to ensure food labels were accurate, and more random testing was introduced. It said the Food Standards Agency should be vested greater powers of investigation and entry into premises where food fraud was suspected.