LONDON/NEW YORK: Trust in UK brands has increased since last year, but British consumers remain among the most sceptical in the world about advertisers' claims, a new global brand reputation tracker has revealed.

According to the UK sample of the 2014 Global RepTrack 100 study from the New York-based Reputation Institute, just over half (53%) of UK companies improved their reputations since last year's horse meat scandal damaged several food brands.

Leading UK supermarkets – including Asda, Iceland and Tesco – improved over the year while Sainsbury's secured second place in the UK Top 10 ranking, one spot below retailer John Lewis and just ahead of Rolls-Royce, Marketing Week reported.

Findus and Brakes, both food companies, were among the biggest improvers, but retailer Marks & Spencer, which topped the ranking in 2013, fell to 15th place.

Spencer Fox, MD of the Reputation Institute, said the horsemeat scandal had a "horrific effect" on the food industry last year, but it is now mending its reputation with consumers.

He went on to advise brands that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming an increasingly important issue for the 18,000 UK consumers covered in the survey.

"A brighter UK economy means the balance has shifted: more than ever it is about who you are, not just what you sell," he said.

Also of potential concern for brands is the news that the great majority of UK consumers disbelieve – or are at least uncertain – about their advertising claims.

Just 15.4% say they believe statements made in advertising, a rate significantly below the global average of 25%, and ranking the UK above only France, Germany and Japan.

The full study covered 55,000 consumers across 15 markets that account for 75% of global GDP and ranked Google and Walt Disney in joint top position.

They were followed by BMW and Rolex in joint third and Sony in fifth. Sony was also the top ranked brand in Europe, followed by Samsung, BMW and Volkswagen.

Data sourced from Marketing Week/BBC; additional content by Warc staff