The first potatoes to be sold under Tesco’s premium Finest sub-brand went into stores this week. The two varieties - Exquisa and Smile - are both new to the UK and the latter is exclusive to Tesco.
Both are being supplied by the supermarket’s main potato supplier, Branston.
Exquisa is currently imported from the Continent, but it will be produced in the UK from next spring. It has a buttery flavour, soft texture, creamy skin and grows in a long, hooked shape.
Availability will be year-round, with early volumes running at around 25 tonnes a week. It will initially be on sale in 100 of Tesco’s biggest stores with a roll-out to more outlets over the coming months.
Smile will be grown exclusively in the UK, in the East Anglia region. It has mild flavour, a bright red skin and distinctive creamy crescent markings that look like smiles.
Smile has never been sold commercially before and will be on sale first in Tesco stores in north London. Volumes for the whole season will amount to just a few hundred tonnes.
Both varieties will be available in high-quality 1kg modified atmosphere Finest packs for £1.49.
David Nelson, Branston field director, has been overseeing trials of the new potato varieties in the UK. He said: “Exquisa is an improvement on other salad varieties in terms of consistent flavour and appearance.
“Smile looks very distinctive and the colour remains after boiling, unlike many red-skinned varieties. The skin is quite thin, so it also eats well.”
Greg Meenehan