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Martyn Fisher


USA's Fox TV takes note as Asda unveils 'world-first' onion

Bedfordshire-produced sweet red that has been more than 20 years in the making captures global media attention

USA's Fox TV takes note as Asda unveils 'world-first' onion

Findlay in the field with his sweet reds

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Asda has started selling UK-grown sweet red onions - a potential world-first.

The product is produced for the retailer by Bedfordshire Growers' grower Alastair Findlay.

The launch has even captured the attention of major US TV networks.

Bedfordshire Growers' MD, Stephen Hedderly, told FPJ: "Publicity around the world has been incredible this week, with Alastair and myself taking part in a live TV interview with Fox USA, as well as the story being reported in all continents. The BBC are today (13 February) filming at the farm, it has already appeared on ITV show Lorraine and other shows this week.

"Alastair, who is a member of the Bedfordshire Growers farming co-operative, has spent over 20 years breeding this onion, following from a visit to the US 25 years ago. In the US, sweet onions represent 20 per cent market share of all onions sold.

"In the UK, it is only 0.8 per cent, so there is lots of opportunity. This will probably be the only sweet red variety available in Europe and possibly the world. It is also the only British sweet onion available in store currently from October to April."

The sweet red onion has a very low pungency. Pungency is measured by the Pyruvate scale, which has been developed in the US. The scale goes from 0-10, and 5-10 is where standard onions sit. Sweet onions, though hover around the 2-4 mark.

The product - which is released under the supermarket's own label - is in 88 Asda stores, and retails at £1 for 500g.

Speaking to FPJ at the end of last year, Hedderly revealed Bedfordshire Growers' plans to grows its brand. On this latest development, Hedderly said: "At the moment we just want to concentrate on delivering a consistent product while understanding consumer buying habits. We will consider a branded offer in the future."

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