The herbs sector posted significant growth last year, driven by coriander, research has revealed.

Coriander, the top-selling herb, clocked up nearly £18m in sales last year, while basil, flat leaf parsley, mint and curly leaf parsley made up the rest of the top five sellers, according to Kantar Worldpanel [52 w/e 3 January 2016].

In terms of format, all herbs saw an increase but l Living herbs in pots delivered the highest growth - up 17.8%, accounting for 34.5% of all herb sales. Cut herbs accounted for half of sales, with 11% growth, while bunch herbs delivered 2.9% growth, and made up 10.9% of sales.

“Consumers are recognising the benefits of purchasing fresh herbs, with sales increases in the sector outperforming that of the produce industry in general,” said Vitacress MD Simon Conway, adding with total produce penetration at 99% compared to 44% for herbs, there was “plenty of room for growth”.

During the festive period, sales growth was seen on traditional herbs like sage, which overtook more exotic herbs such as lemongrass [12 w/e 3 January 2016].