Tesco will stock the three hottest chilli peppers in the world for the first time ever, all of them grown in Bedfordshire.
The Carolina Reaper, the Komodo Dragon and Armageddon chilli varieties are several hundred times more potent than more common chillis such as the Jalapeño.
And grower Salvatore Genovese, whose glasshouse operation supplies Tesco supermarkets with a million chilli peppers a week, says he wants to go one further by breeding the world’s hottest chilli pepper here in the UK.
Tesco chilli pepper buyer Emily Hampson explained:“These chilli peppers will be available as part of our Super Hot range but until shoppers arrive at the store they won’t know which variety they are getting. It will be a lucky dip.
'A word of warning though - these super strong varieites are not for beginners and we advise that only experts who know what they are doing should try them. Despite their ferocious heat, they are becoming more and more popular with UK shoppers.”
The hottest recorded chilli pepper, the Carolina Reaper, weighs in at 1.5 million Scoville units. For comparison a Jalapeño pepper can reach 8000 Scoville units.
Last year Genovese created a new record by growing the Armageddon variety, which at 1.3m Scovilles is the hottest British-bred commercially grown chilli pepper.
Genovese said:“When I started growing them no one believed that the UK would have such a great appetite for chilli peppers, particularly the really super hot ones.
“But we have a growing chilli culture and you only have to look online to see all the UK based chilli sauce businesses that have sprung up in recent years.
“Each of these three varieties on sale at Tesco have subtle differences such as the fruitiness or the immediacy of its strength on the tongue.
“Last year I grew the Armageddon which is the hottest ever British bred commercially grown chilli pepper. Now I want to go one better and commercially grow a chilli bred in Britain that will outdo the notorious Carolina Reaper.”
The chillies will cost £1 a packet and will contain up to three chilli peppers depending on the size. They will be on sale from this weekend.