A combination of home cooking during lockdown and the vegan revolution is helping boost sales of greens.
That's according to Tesco, which says that veg such as cabbage, spinach and even sprouts have become popular as home-based Brits, with more time on their hands, return to scratch cooking. That effect has been amplified by the growing popularity of plant-based events such as Meat Free Mondays and Veganuary.
The trend is so pronounced that Tesco said it is now working with its UK suppliers to grow more to meet the demand.
The highest increase is being seen with leeks and cabbage as well as broccoli and sprouts. Since the first lockdown in March 2020, Tesco reported leeks sales up 30 per cent, cabbages 25 per cent, broccoli 20 per cent, and sprouts, kale and spinach all around 10 per cent each.
Tesco's fresh vegetables buyer Ben Rowbotham said: "The popularity of greens is soaring right now and it’s down to a combination of the current plant-based revolution and lockdown, which is giving people more time to cook from scratch and eat more healthily.
“Greens got their poor image from the post-war baby boomer generation schoolchildren who generally loathed them as they were always being told to ‘eat their greens’ for health reasons. Unfortunately many people used to boil them to death so that you were left with unappetisingly tasteless vegetables swimming around in green water.
“Now, with today’s kitchen equipment, people can easily steam, stir fry and even microwave them to bring out the best flavour and preserve the goodness.”
Supplier TH Clements revealed it is also seeing major increases for broccoli and cabbage, with demand up more than 50 and 30 per cent respectively in the last year, while cauliflowers, sprouts and spring greens have also grown significantly.
Commercial director Richard Mowbray said: “In the last year sales of greens have particularly soared and we are working with Tesco to manage the extra demand by planting more vegetables. Greens became part of the nation’s staple post-war meat and two veg diet at school and at home but many kids loathed them because they were made to eat them for health reasons.
“Sales eventually dropped off when fast food outlets began emerging here in the 70s and never fully recovered. The good news is that greens are now at their most popular for ages and a big part of that boom is the scratch cooking and vegan booms that are currently taking place.”
In the last year Tesco reports also seeing demand for herbs and spices soar by more than 25 per cent as more Brits take to picking up their recipe books and cook from scratch.