Melons have overtaken pineapples as Britain’s fastest-growing fruit, according to Tesco.
The supermarket reported that in the last year demand for melons has grown by 13 per cent at its stores, with the Yellow Honeydew variety by far the most popular and accounting for a third of all UK sales.
Tesco now stocks 10 different varieties, including a citrus flavoured one with orange flesh and another with white flesh. Next month it is also set to launch a bright yellow-flesh watermelon.
Melon buyer Joe Baines said last year’s hot summer saw sales peak as consumers sought thirst-quenching fruit. “Traditionally melon sales grow during the summer and then fall in the winter months, but this didn’t happen last year as the autumn and winter were so mild," he explained. "Since last summer sales have continued to soar.
“But we also know from customer research that melons, like pineapples, are now seen as value-for-money healthy centrepiece desserts that can help kids eat more fruit.
“We’ve also heard of adults scooping out the seeds and then filling melons up with their alcoholic spirit of choice and leaving them to chill in the fridge all day, ready for a delicious fruit cocktail in the evening.”
Baines said Tesco has worked with its supplier to bring new varieties to the UK for the first time, including Sweet Snowball, Sweet Tangy Twist and Finest Sunkiss.
“Most people would find it hard to name more than three varieties but Britain is experiencing a kind of melon-mania right now,” he said. UK growers are also now starting to grow the crop.