WEDNESDAY 6 MAR 2013 10:34 PM


The revelation that Tesco’s (and other supermarket chains Iceland and Aldi) burgers are not what they appear sparked a healthy number of ‘flogging a dead horse’ jokes. Tesco responded quickly, with a next-day advert in several newspapers. Below are some tweets, Tesco’s apology, and industry analysis – will the store’s reputation recover, or are they trying to shut the stable door too late?

Raman Sehgal, owner of ramarketing

“The immediate impact will be negative headlines in national and regional newspapers, radio, TV, online and of course social media. Like all smart brands looking to protect their precious reputations, honesty is the best policy. Thorough investigations, good flow of information and no hiding is the way to go. The interesting thing with this story is it’s likely to be the tip of the iceberg. Like the phone hacking scandal or companies dodging tax, every investigational journalist is going to be on the look-out for the next product that isn’t what it says on the tin. This one will run and run potentially as the mighty supermarkets are an easy target given their products feed the entire population. As a Hindu, I think things may hot up even further when beef is found in a non-beef product. Being damned by any religious group is not a place a brand wants to be. Thank God I shop at Waitrose!”

 @fizzyegg: This #horsemeat thing worries me purely because @UKTesco don’t seem to know what’s in their burgers or how it got there.

@jamesmb: Stop attacking @UKTesco. Their Aberdeen Angus burgers are great. Indeed, Aberdeen Angus was great, finishing 4th in last year’s National.

@stmarysgym: Horse meat is leaner than both beef and pork...great for recover #tesco #horseburger



Tesco, in a full-page newspaper ad on 17 January

"You have probably read or heard that we have had a serious problem with three frozen beef burger products that we sell in stores in the UK and Ireland. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has told us that a number of products they have recently tested from one of our suppliers contained horsemeat. While the FSAI has said that the products pose no risk to public health, we appreciate that, like us, our customers will find this absolutely unacceptable."


Hilary Ross, partner and head of DWF’s food service group

“The recent testing by the Irish Food Safety Authority (IFSA) that identified horse meat in burgers and pig meat in processed beef dishes highlights increasing concern about the identity and declaration of meat. The problem for retailers, manufacturers and processors is devising proportionate and reasonable systems for testing the identity of the meat with which they are being supplied. There are many uncertainties relating to the methodology of testing, as well as concerns about costs. The results of the IFSA testing will put pressure on the food industry and its regulators to take action. However, quick fixes should be resisted until robust due diligence systems are agreed.”

@adamcallaghan82: “unexpected item in bagging area” Horse meat perhaps? @uktesco

@eagie1863: I thought the expression was “no point flogging a dead horse”. Clearly someone should tell @uktesco!

 In a move that Tesco claimed was due to a pre-scheduled message but which also drew thousands of disapproving RTs, its official Twitter account sent out this message:

@UKTesco: It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay! See you at 8am for more #TescoTweets




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