Belgium-based food maker Ter Beke has continued to feel the impact of the January horsemeat scandal and the group said today (29 August) that ready meal sales remained under pressure.

In the first quarter of the year, sales fell 2.7% to EUR202.6m (US$267.9m), down from EUR208.2m in the comparable period of last year. The company attributed the drop to a 15.3% slowdown at its ready meals division.

“This decrease is mainly due to the horsemeat crisis that, even though our products were not at all involved, has seriously affected consumer confidence in ready meals in general and lasagne in particular,” the company said.

The drop in high-margin ready meals sales resulted in an 8.9% decline in EBITDA, which fell to EUR14.4m.

Post-tax profit was boosted by lower financing costs, which were down by more than 50%. Post-tax profit fell a less-marked 3.7% as a result, dipping to EUR3m, down from EUR3.1m.