CHESHUNT, England, April 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Tesco has announced that asparagus has gained new cult status as the UK's top selling aphrodisiac.
Lovers recently created record demand for the vegetable - which is said to increase the libido - in the run up to Valentine's Day 2011 when sales across the UK doubled.
Now there's even more good news - the English variety grown in the UK's asparagus heartland in the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire which is said by gourmets to be the tastiest in the world - is now going to be sold at Tesco.
Said Tesco asparagus buyer Harry Jones: "Our sales over the last few weeks leave us in no doubt that asparagus is fast gaining a new reputation as an aphrodisiac.
"We've always known about its reputed passion-increasing qualities but this is the first time we have marketed it, at point of sale, as a Valentine's Day food.
"Not only did demand double for that period - which set a new sales record - but we have seen a 35 per cent rise in demand since then that we can only put down to its new found reputation as a food of love."
The vegetable's aphrodisiac effect is credited as being a result of the plant's natural chemicals such as phytohormones or phytosteroids, which may evoke a steroid-like action in humans, and influence sex hormone receptors.
Asparagus is a good source of vitamin A, zinc, B vitamins and potassium which may help to enhance circulation, and in turn help boost sex drive. Vitamin E is also needed for the production of sex hormones, which contribute to a healthy sex life and increased sex drive.
The first English asparagus of the season traditionally first goes on sale at Tesco's Evesham store before going on wider sale.
As demand for the English variety far outstrips supply it will be sold alongside imported asparagus.
But Tesco has been working with growers to extend the UK growing season and this has already resulted in the traditional eight week May to June growing season doubling in length.
The move to extend the season has been good news for growers with volume sales of asparagus growing by 18 per cent in the last year. The market is now worth 64 million pounds Sterling a year according to retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel (January 2011).
So popular has home-grown asparagus become that more and more vegetable growers are now starting to get in on the act as it is a useful cash crop.
In the last five years UK asparagus production has rocketed with a 160 per cent growth in tonnage and growers working to push the traditional mid-April start to as early as February.
Added Tesco's Harry Jones: "The arrival of the first English asparagus should also create another feel good factor - it is traditionally the first crop of the summer UK produce season.
"And it means that spring is not far away with the first Jersey Royals and strawberries just around the corner."
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SOURCE Tesco Real Food