Foodies create soaring demand for salty samphire

Demand for the salty coastal sea plant samphire is soaring at Tesco.

In the last year, demand for samphire has soared by 80%, thanks to its popularity on TV cookery shows such as BBC’s ‘Saturday Morning Kitchen’ and Channel 4’s ‘Sunday Brunch’, the supermarket chain says.

The plant, which traditionally grows in estuary waters, is being commercially harvested for Tesco in the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire – an area noted for its asparagus.

Tesco vegetable buyer Bart Vangorp said: “For centuries, samphire was the seaside’s best kept secret – a little known sea plant that is a wonderful accompaniment to fish because of its wonderfully succulent taste and distinctive salty flavour.

 “Until about five years ago samphire was still only really known by foodies, but thanks to being championed by celebrity chefs such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver it’s becoming a mainstream delicacy.

“Unless you lived near the sea it was quite hard to find – which is why we decided to stock it, to make it easier for our customers to buy.”

Tesco’s samphire is supplied by speciality grower Westlands, which is the UK’s biggest producer of edible sea plants. It is low in calories with virtually no fat and rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C.

Tesco samphire is available in store from this month until October and costs £2 for a 115 gram pack.

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