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British asparagus sales increase by 540 per cent

British asparagus sales increase by 540 per cent

Sales of British asparagus have increased significantly over the past decade, with a rise of 540 per cent.

This is according to data from Kantar, produced on behalf of the British Asparagus Association.

Over the last ten years, the amount of asparagus grown in the UK has increased from 788 hectares worth to approximately 2,178 hectares, which equates to growth of 176 per cent, the Guardian reports.

Traditionally, asparagus has been seen as a somewhat posh vegetable, but it has become increasingly synonymous with spring over the years, which may have contributed to this significant rise in popularity.

Adam Morris, a consumer who regularly purchases asparagus from Tesco - where demand has been rising by an average of 20 per cent year on year - said: "Asparagus, particularly the home-grown variety, has become one of the UK's trendiest vegetables.

"A lot of that is down to seasonality and the short-lived British season which only lasts for roughly eight weeks from mid-April to mid-June."

However, Waitrose has been able to stock the product earlier than usual this year, due to good weather conditions. The high-end grocery retailer has seen asparagus sales increase by 28 per cent week on week so far.

Marks and Spencer has also seen impressive sales throughout the current asparagus season, with a 48 per cent increase in demand compared to last year for the product. The retailer sold 100 per cent of its asparagus stock by mid-April, the first store to do so.

Peru is currently the world's largest exporter of the increasingly coveted vegetable, but Mr Morris highlighted that "experts say [British asparagus] is the best in the world because of our perfect, mild climate".

The green variety of the vegetable is still the most popular, but last year Tesco introduced white asparagus to its shelves, which proved popular so the supermarket has doubled its stock of the product for 2014.

White asparagus is considered a gourmet food and often features in dishes at Michelin-starred restaurants, which reflects the changing tastes of UK consumers for more quality ingredients.

 

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