The UK is leading the way in trialling sweet potato varieties known as kumra from New Zealand with the assistance of a government aid scheme available from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
As a result, 22 growers in the North Island have shipped the first 20 tonnes.
The crop, which is harvested in April, fills a potential export niche between established sources from Israel and the United States.
The results have been positive enough, according to trade sources, to seriously consider the potential to develop a regular trade.
One criteria which has interested the multiples, including Sainsbury and Asda, is that the crop can be provided in a wider range of colours than the currently sold orange types.
Kumras can also be supplied in red or even a shade of gold.
Meanwhile, UK potato growers were given some relief from the ongoing dry conditions with recent rains.Crop prices were still holding firm and imports levels had fallen due to UK produced competition.