Roger Welberry, Lincolnshire grower and president of the British Sprout Growers Association, said that demand for sprouts among consumers was reaching new highs after years in the doldrums.
He added: “We believe the promotional work has paid off in getting people to try sprouts again. Once they realise that the quality and taste of today’s buttons are so much better than they remember from their childhood experiences, they keep coming back for more.”
Welberry, whose customers include Asda, said the sprout’s revival had also been down to sweet new varieties and British growers’ ability to produce consistently bright, clean buttons. These stayed firm for longer on the store shelf and did not go yellow quickly in the fridge. Retailers and consumers could be assured that quality this year was excellent, he said.
“Supermarket promotions at the end of this month look set to fully exploit good yields of the early season varieties, and boost Christmas demand for the flavoursome Helemus variety,” said Welberry.
Welberry added: “Crops are currently very clean and free of disease. The main concern now is that if mild, wet weather continues, disease could develop rapidly. The greatest threat is alternaria, which could result in dark leaf spots developing on buttons and could seriously affect the visual and keeping quality.”