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Sales of sprouts soar as the cold boosts flavour; 400%MOREOFTHECHRISTMAS DINNERFAVOURITESARESOLD.


THE humble brussels sprout has emerged as the biggest winner from Christmas 2010.

Shoppers across Wales stocked up for their annual festive feast yesterday on what had been expected to be the busiest shopping day of the year and figures from the nation's largest supermarket showed that sales of sprouts had risen by nearly 400%.

Tesco said that sales of all vegetable trimmings associated with Christmas lunch had risen but that the most successful of all was the traditionally much-maligned sprout.

Waitrose, which has been advertising celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal's recipe for shredded sprout leaves with bacon lardons, also said that sprouts on stalks had been one of its biggest sellers.

Allotment expert Terry Walton said the cold weather had been particularly good for sprouts so people may be stocking up after tasting this year''s flavoursome offerings.

He said: "They''re going to be very, very good as the weather has been so cold, which brings the flavour out.

"Sprouts have an almost psychological effect on some people, who say 'I can''t eat sprouts'.

"It's not a Christmas dinner without a sprout and it''s got to be a green one, not the purple ones they've tried to develop to fool children."

Supermarkets across the country said that despite the snow and ice, they have been able to keep shelves piled high with Christmas essentials.

Asda spokeswoman Tori Pourzand said: "We have been keeping our shelves well stocked for our customers, and by the time the folks ofWales sit down for Christmas dinner on Saturday, we expect to have sold over 207,500 mince pies, 75,000 Christmas puddings, 45,500 turkeys and 1.4million pigs in blankets."

A Waitrose spokeswoman said its Welsh stores had been doing really well yesterday,with staff working hard to ensure deliveries arrived and made it on to shelves, with one getting a tractor to clear snow and ice.

Among the bestsellers were fruit and vegetables in Abergavenny, sprouts on stalks in Menai Bridge and fresh Welsh beef in Monmouth and Pontprennau, Cardiff.

Sainsbury's was predicting between noon and 4pm yesterday would be the busiest four-hour trading period they have ever had, with 50% more transactions than on a normal trading day.

In anticipation and to beat the cold weather, stores have already had extra deliveries of bread, milk and other staples as well as Christmas treats like champagne, mince pies and chocolates.

Tesco media director Trevor Datson said: "Stores and staff are fully prepared and stocked up ready for our busiest day of the year. We're expecting them to be twice as busy as a normal Saturday. To help cope with the extra demand, thousands of Tesco head office staff have left their desks to help stack shelves, pack customers' bags and serve at the tills.

"The 23rd is the key date for filling baskets with fresh fruit and veg as well as sausages, gammon and stuffing for the Christmas dinner. Customers also want essentials such as bread and milk so our shelves are topped up with these and other winter warming foods."

Top sellers at Tesco include sliced bread, with sales up 30% compared with last week, sausages, up 28%, and bacon, 21%.

With queues at checkouts across Wales likely to be long, Asda has introduced 140 festive Go Getters for Forgetters to its Welsh stores, who go and collect items from shelves which shoppers have forgotten. Bread, milk and Christmas sauces were listed as the most forgotten items.

A Co-operative Group spokeswoman said: "Our food stores in Wales have been very busy as people have tended to shop locally because of the weather and there has been a high demand for bread, milk, salt and fresh produce."

A Morrisons spokesman said it was seeing a 200% increase in the sale of cooking salt, a 150% increase in the sale of table salt and sales of de-icer had doubled.


The much-maligned sprout has emerged as the biggest winner from Christmas 2010
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 24, 2010
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