Brussel sprouts

The humble sprout is being given a makeover with new flavour strengths - and even colours - in a bid to encourage more Brits to eat the much maligned veg.

Produce World, a major supplier of brassicas and other vegetables to the mults, is running field trials of mild-tasting and strong-tasting sprouts, at its site in Butterwick, Lincolnshire.

The new sprouts would be harvested later this year and if they performed well in taste tests, were likely to be grown commercially next year and could be on shelves by Christmas 2014, said Dara O’Doherty, NPD manager at Produce World.

“We’re just trying to make people aware and increase the marketing around sprouts and increase the fixture in store,” she said.

Strong-tasting sprouts would appeal to the “sprout traditionalist”.

Red-coloured sprouts are also being trialled and Produce World already commercially grows the Flower Sprout - a cross between the Brussels sprout and kale - for a major retailer.

The company is also trialling a type of brassica that can be used both as a lettuce and as a cabbage - it is milder in flavour than a cabbage, but stronger than lettuce - as well as red-veined cavolo nero and coloured kales.