They’ve been famously despised by kids down the ages but greens have finally shaken off their loathsome image thanks to lockdown and the vegan revolution.
Greens, such as cabbage, spinach and even sprouts, have become very trendy as homebound, lockdown Brits, with more time on their hands, return to scratch cooking. And the growing popularity of plant-based events such as Meat Free Mondays and Veganuary have also done much to encourage the eating of vegetables.
The trend is so pronounced that Tesco is now working with its UK suppliers in order 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 has seen the following increases against the previous year:
Leeks – demand up by more than 30%
Cabbage – up nearly 25%
Broccoli – up 20%
Sprouts – up 10%
Kale – up 10%
Spinach – up nearly 10%
Tesco 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.”
In the last year, Tesco has seen demand for herbs and spices soar by more than 25% as more Brits take to picking up their recipe books and cook from scratch.
TH Clements, based near Boston, Lincolnshire, are one of the UK’s biggest growers of greens such as sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and spring greens and have also seen demand rocket in the last year.
Like Tesco, the grower is also seeing major increases for broccoli and cabbage with increases of more than 50 and 30 per cent respectively in the last year while cauliflowers, sprouts and spring greens have also grown accordingly.
TH Clements spokesman, 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.”