Turnips and swedes replace Mediterranean vegetables as shoppers get used to eating seasonally, Waitrose sales figures show

Helena Horton
Turnips are a popular choice now - Getty Images Contributor

British root vegetables, once shunned for their shinier and more glamorous Mediterranean counterparts, are making a comeback as people get used to eating seasonally, Waitrose sales figures show.

The supermarket has doubled its order of vegetables including turnips and swedes as people turn back to traditional vegetables.

Swedes, celeriac and turnips are all up in double figures for sales growth year on year, and more and more customers are searching for the vegetables online.

Searches for swedes are up 52 per cent on the retailer's website compared to last autumn, with celeriac up 25 per cent, fennel up 30 per cent and turnip up 17 per cent.

Courgette, which has previously been a popular vegetable, is seeing figures for search down 1.4 per cent.

The growth in interest in the previously unloved root vegetables has been credited to the "wonky veg" movement as well as British cooks becoming more interested in food miles and eating seasonally.

While the older generation will be very familiar with root vegetables, which were previously a staple of the dining table in this country, younger people have been unsure of how to cook them.

Many younger customers were aware of how to chop a butternut squash but balked at the idea of slicing a swede.

Chefs are also wising up to the trend, and celeraic is commonly seen as a vegan Sunday roast alternative in pubs across the country.

Zoe Simons, Senior Development Chef at Waitrose & Partners said: "A lot of traditional British root vegetables had sadly fallen out of favour over the last decade or so, however in the last year we have seen a real root veg renaissance happening!  

"Veg such as celeriac, turnips and swede are incredibly versatile and work brilliant both as main and side dishes. Roast a whole celeriac for a great veggie main dish, or try a turnip & swede gratin for a decadent side dish."

A Waitrose spokesperson added: : "Many customers in recent years have probably avoided some of the more traditional root veg varieties as they were unsure of how to cook them. However more high end restaurants are making them real features on menus and top chefs are experimenting with ways to rev up the root. 

I think the wonky veg movement has made people less scared of picking up a less than pretty looking veg when they are shopping, and I think awareness is much higher now (lots of chefs using them in cook books etc.)"