Birds Eye to buy only Irish and British beef in future

From this month all Birds Eye burgers, which never had to be removed during the horse meat scandal, will be made from British and Irish-reared meat

From this month all Birds Eye burgers, which never had to be removed during the horse meat scandal, will be made from British and Irish-reared meat

Sat, Jun 8, 2013, 01:00




Frozen food and ready-meal company Birds Eye, which was forced to withdraw a number of products during the horse meat scandal, has announced that it will buy all its meat in future from British and Irish farmers.

The food company withdrew its spaghetti bolognese, beef lasagne and shepherd’s pie in February after small traces of horse meat were found in them. The meat had been supplied by an Irish company which had imported it from the Continent.

From this month all Birds Eye burgers, which never had to be removed during the crisis, will be made from British and Irish-reared meat, while all other products – ready-meals, roast dinners and pies – will be made from Irish and British meat by the end of the year.

Despite suffering embarrassment over its ready- meals, Birds Eye has enjoyed strong burger sales in Britain and Ireland in recent months. Since mid-February it has seen burger sales rise by nearly 12 per cent.

The company, which is owned by a private equity firm, has enjoyed even better tidings recently, with burger sales up by 73 per cent over the last four weeks, a company spokesman told The Irish Times.

Up to now, Birds Eye has mostly used Irish and British beef in its burgers, though supplies from Argentina and continental Europe were used in other products. Like many firms, however, it is now trying to shorten its supply chain in a bid to stop a repetition of the horse meat crisis.

In an interview with trade magazine, The Grocer, Birds Eye managing director Andy Weston-Webb said its Irish problems had been down to its supplier: “The problem wasn’t Irish, it was a company issue, rather than a provenance issue.”