The affordability and versatility of carrots have helped sales of the vegetable rise 14% in the past year.

The market is now worth £260m [TNS 52w/e 9 August], with a 1% year-on-year increase in consumption to 3.8 million occasions [TNS, 12w/e May 09].

Consumers saw the vegetable as relatively cheap and easy to cook, said Guy Poskitt, director of supermarket supplier MH Poskitt. Wide availability had also boosted sales, he added. "Supermarkets are very keen to source British and we've seen a steady increase in demand."

The vegetable's versatility added to its popularity, said TNS analyst Michael Vahid. Boiling and steaming were the most popular methods of preparation, followed by roasting, including them in stews and stir fries and eating them cold.

Health is a motivation for 43% of carrot munchers, with 19% eating them predominantly for enjoyment.