Tesco is set to provide shoppers with a wider variety of exotic fruit and vegetables as customers shopping trends reveal a growing demand for unusual produce.
The UK’s largest retailer revealed it is doubling its range of exotic food produce to 50 items this week and added that demand for such produce is no longer restricted to areas with established large ethnic communities.
New additions to the range include mooli, a white radish from India, chow chow, a slightly bitter gourd, and dudhi, an Indian courgette-like vegetable that can be used in stir fries. Plantain and okra are also being added.
The new range will also feature ‘box talkers’ to help customers understand exactly what they are purchasing. The labels will provide basic information about where the food comes from and photos of how to prepare it.
“There is no better example of how multicultural Britain has become than through the rich diversity of the foods we can now buy in our supermarkets,” commented Tesco’s ethnic produce buyer Jonathan Corbett.
“Demand for exotic produce is rocketing as a direct result of that multiculturalism, and these days our staff are as likely to be asked for a kilo of plantains or butternut squash as sprouts or broccoli .
He added: “Until a few years ago we stocked just a handful of the more popular exotic vegetables such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash, chillis and yams, and these were sold in areas where there were large ethnic communities.
“But now that multiculturalism has crossed over to our mainstream business, we’re finding that shoppers are becoming more adventurous when buying produce.”
Britain’s exotic produce market is currently worth £395 million a year, and is growing at 33.6 per cent annually, according to independent retail analyst TNS