Best New Variety Vegetable/Salad - Winner Inca Bella, Branston

Branston's potato variety development programme, which produced Inca Bella, began back in 2000 at the Scottish Crop Research Institute (now the James Hutton Institute).

Best New Variety Vegetable/Salad - Winner Inca Bella, Branston
Best New Variety Vegetable/Salad - Winner Inca Bella, Branston

Chosen from 1,500 possible new varieties, Inca Bella was created from crossing a variety from the Solanum phureja family - the indigenous potato species of the Andes - with our standard Solanum tuberosum species, which is fully acclimatised to our environment and grows well in the UK.

The key attributes the phureja brings are a golden-coloured flesh that has a slightly sweet, nutty flavour and a much quicker cooking time. Traditional roasting varieties have a high level of dry matter, hence the floury texture that makes a lovely crispy roast on the outside that is smooth and fluffy on the inside.

Inca Bella's floury starch molecules are naturally configured into a more ordered cellular structure, which means when heat is applied the cells break down more quickly, allowing the starch grains to swell and soften - the key to a faster cooking time.

With each growing season Branston has been working on multiplying up stocks of Inca Bella so it can meet the growing demand from consumers. It is currently available in selected Waitrose branches, but is still a seasonal line with limited availability. When launched in November 2014, sales increased week on week and it proved so popular that it sold out within six weeks.

Inca Bella was awarded a 2015 Waitrose Supplier Award for product innovation and is proving even more popular this year, based on sales and glowing customer feedback.

Highly commended

Sweet sprouting cauliflower, Produce World Group

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