Figures provided exclusively to the newspaper by Brand Index, part of the polling company YouGov, show that Cadbury’s reputation has plummeted since it was forced to recall millions of chocolate bars after finding traces of salmonella at its factory in Herefordshire.

Cadbury has said it will cost 5 million pounds to recall all its potentially contaminated products, but has so far failed to quantify the impact on sales of its chocolate products such as Dairy Milk and Flake bars.

Chocolate sales in the UK were already falling before the Cadbury scare. According to AC Nielson, the market research company, total UK sales dropped by 5% in the four weeks to June 17.

Analysts have estimated that the financial cost to Cadbury in terms of lost sales could reach 30 million pounds.