Cauliflower has won an unexpected new fan base among young adult males despite overall sales falling.

New TNS data shows 17 to 24-year-old males ate 44% more cauliflower in the 12 months to November 2008, compared with the year before. They now make up 10% of all consumption of the brassica. The trend reflected young men's rising consumption of veg generally, said TNS analyst Gareth Shaw. An increase in families eating more meals at home could be behind the rise.

Although the cauliflower market has risen nearly 10% to £103m in the past two years, volume sales have fallen 11% in the past year alone to 103,000kg [TNS 52w/e 19 April 2009]. This was largely due to a lack of understanding of how to cook the vegetable, said Phillip Effingham, Brassica Growers' Association chairman. Breeders and growers were now working to produce tasty and convenient varieties, he added.