Beans on toast are taking a back seat as shoppers roll back the years with an old-fashioned alternative: herring roe.

Sales of the fish at Waitrose are up 39% over the equivalent period last year.

“It’s significant that the cheapest product by weight on our fish counters is now becoming popular again,” said Waitrose fish buyer Jeremy Langley. “When it comes to taste, herring roe isn't the poor relation to other items in the fish aisle. It's delicious fried and served on hot buttered toast.”

Langley said the increase in sales was “part of a wider trend for adventurous shoppers seeking out nutritious, good-value fish”.

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