British salad cress and mustard & cress are to be given a major push by one of the UK's leading growers in a bid to reverse falling sales.

Humber VHB, which supplies cress to Tesco, Sainsbury, Somerfield and Waitrose, is targeting young people with its first-ever consumer media campaign for the crop.

The health benefits will be a key focus. Humber VHB has worked with a nutritionist, former Top Santé editor Juliette Kellow, to establish key health messages such as the fact that, weight-for-weight, cress is one of the richest foods in terms of nutrients, having just germinated.

The campaign will also attempt to communicate the difference between salad cress and mustard & cress. Salad cress differs from mustard & cress in that it is grown from rapeseed or cress seed, while mustard & cress is grown from white mustard seed. Magazines and local newspapers will be approached this summer with a view to carrying features and recipes including cress.

There will also be a burst of activity around British Sandwich Week in May.

HumberVHB grows about 16 million punnets of cress annually at its nursery in West Sussex, to supply supermarkets, wholesale fruit and veg markets and food processors.

James Seymour, product manager for Humber VHB, said: "While enjoying excellent distribution across the UK, cress is a slowly declining market. The aim of the summer campaign is to inspire and motivate British consumers, thus increasing awareness and overall sales.

"We believe that the British consumer needs a gentle push to remind them of how good cress is for them, and what a tasty but simple addition it makes to many dishes."

Total retail sales of salad cress and mustard & cress are estimated to be 23 million punnets a year, worth £5.1m.