There could be a niche market for garlic scapes - if retailers and the public can be educated in what to do with them.

Scapes - or garlic shoots - are only grown in the UK in Scotland by the Really Garlicky Company, but they are not currently stocked by the multiples as they are seen as confusing to consumers. Scapes have a short season of six to eight weeks from May, and are currently only sold to the catering trade, delis and farm shops.

However, Really Garlicky, which supplies garlic to Waitrose, Booths and Tesco in Scotland, is in discussions with Booths over a possible listing for scapes.

Garlic shoots are said to make an ideal accompaniment for meat, or as an ingredient in other dishes.

Scapes received a boost when TV chef Sophie Grigson used them in recipes, said a Really Garlicky spokeswoman. "They need more exposure. If we can get a few more celebrity chefs using them and educate the public a bit then they could do well," she added.