Consumption of offal has increased by 26% over the past six years as consumers have sought cheaper yet nutritious alternatives to more expensive meat cuts.

UK retail sales of offal reached £67.7m and 23,224 tonnes in August this year compared with £53.5m and 20,822 tonnes in 2004. Liver is the most popular by far, accounting for about 60% of domestic volume consumption, with volume growth of 8% in the past 12 months.

Possible contributing factors to the revival of what was once a staple food were increased availability on pub menus as well as the economic downturn, said Eblex regional manager Phil Hadley. Celebrity chefs had also played a role.

Eblex last week called on the beef and sheep industries to do more to maximise utilisation of the whole animal carcase. It warned producers were missing out on millions of pounds a year as a result of not treating offal correctly.