Tesco has announced this week that it will be doubling its range of world food produce to 50 items.

TV chefs and exotic holidays had been key drivers of demand, said Tesco, adding that it planned to use 'box talkers' to provide information about origin and preparation.

The supermarket will shortly begin stocking baby taro, karela, pink curry onions and sugar cane.

Tesco, whose top 10 selling exotic fruit and vegetables comprise mangoes, plantain, crown prince squash, Scotch bonnet chilli, dragon fruit, dudhi, mooli, ung choi, okra and rocket chilli, said multiculturalism had made such products mainstream.

"The exotic fruit and veg market has become one of the fastest-growing areas of food retail and demand is soaring to such an extent that popularity is spreading to non-urban regions," said ethnic produce buyer Jonathan Corbett.

The UK exotic produce market is growing at 33.6% annually and is now worth £395m a year [TNS].