The trend is so great that the supermarket giant has claimed that it is changing the landscape of the fresh produce aisles and – in some cases – even helping growers to better utilise all of their crops.
Demand at Tesco has particularly rocketed over the last two years with:
- Spiralised vegetables such as courgette or carrot spaghetti – soaring by 40%
- Edamame bean salads – growing by more than 100%
- Organic prepared salads – up by nearly 90%
- Healthy fruit snacks such as melon and mango ‘fingers’ – up 400%
A number of these dishes and snacks are allowing growers and producers to reduce crop waste. For instance, cauliflowers considered too small to sell on their own are now being used to make cauliflower couscous – whilst wonky-shaped carrots are being transformed into carrot spaghetti.
And, on account of their growing popularity, Tesco is about to extend its range of prepared vegetable, fruit and salad dishes.
Among the new lines about to be launched are the UK’s first ever mushroom burgers as well as beetroot burgers, potato wedges with katsu dip and crunchy quinoa, and fajita mix with peppers and onions.
Tesco prepared produce buyer Elizabeth Hall said: "These tempting new fresh fruit and veg foods are not only offering shoppers a far wider choice in healthy, nutritious meals but are also helping tackle food waste through greater crop utilisation."
Timeline for evolution of the produce aisle:
1990s – First prepared snacking fruit goes on sale which is washed, bite-size and ready to eat on the go as well as vegetable lines such as stir fry mixes
2000s – Launch of roasting vegetable trays plus ready-made salads
2010 onwards – Range widens to include ready-made side dishes such as stuffed mushrooms and peppers
2015 – Tesco launches UK’s first alternate carb spiralised vegetables
2017 – Produce aisle prepared range grows to include meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner