British retailers were showered with praise this week by the Asparagus Growers' Association, which said the multiples had remained supportive in spite of a cold snap knocking production mid-season.

"Promotions were pulled back leading to weaker sales figures for the second half of the season, although volumes of British product were already significantly up on previous years," said Chris Kitchen, director of Kitchen Garden Produce.

The crop saw a value increase of 7.4% to nearly £1m [TNS, 12 w/e 18 June]. By comparison, the fresh produce category shrank by 2% over the same period.

Promotional consultant Pam Lloyd says the key to avoiding last year's price war was a pre-season meeting with top retailers.

But AGA research also revealed that there was a consumer awareness problem, with only 17% realising there was an English season, despite a press campaign thought to be worth £1.4m this year.

Currently, only 12% of UK households buy asparagus.