Tesco in Britain reported a fall in the sale of frozen foods and chilled convenience meals as a result of the horse-meat contamination scandal earlier this year.
The discovery of horse meat in processed beef products resulted in the recall of tens of millions of ready-made meals from supermarkets across Europe. The scandal, which affected most European Union nations, highlighted the complexities of the food chain and its vulnerability to rogue traders.
Tesco, in its just-released first quarter interim management statement, said performance in every food category was stronger in the first quarter than in the last two months of the prior year, with the exception of frozen foods and chilled convenience meals.
Since January this year it had completed nearly 1500 tests on its own-brand meat ranges, which identified four frozen beef products contaminated by equine DNA.
The four products were withdrawn, reformulated and reintroduced, with new suppliers.
Tesco said it had also accelerated its work with all of its suppliers to ensure that technical processes and specifications were of the highest standard.
It said online grocery sales remained the fastest-growing channel in the market.
Across Britain, total Tesco sales including VAT and petrol grew by 0.1 per cent and by 1.0 per cent excluding petrol, in what it called a subdued market.
Like-for-like sales, excluding both VAT and petrol, decreased by 1 per cent in the quarter – a similar trend to that seen towards the end of the previous year.