Waitrose has reported a surge in the popularity of fresh herbs, including both pre-cut and potted options, with sales of the range up 16% year on year, as shoppers look to add fragrance and flavour to their cooking.
April saw strong sales for potted herbs, with sales up 20%, as shoppers looked to grow their own and spend time in the garden as a result of the warm weather and travel restrictions. Potted Coriander, which can be maintained and grown from any garden or window box, saw the most significant growth, with a sales increase of 52% when compared to last year.
Over the last three months cut herbs have seen also an increase, up 11% when compared to the same period last year. Basil, a herb commonly used in Italian cooking, saw the largest growth with sales up 40% as home-cooks look to favourite holiday destinations for foodie inspiration. Basil is closely followed by the love it or hate it herb Coriander, which has increased sales of 35%.
The growing demand for fresh and potted herbs has seen Waitrose exclusively launch the Potted Lemon Basil into 200+ stores, offering customers a fragrant and citrussy basil plant ideal for lighter summer dishes, tossed in salads or even infused in ice water.
The ability to use or even grow fresh herbs, has become significantly more popular in recent months. Where previously using the longer-lasting dried herbs may have been preferable, the rise in more from-scratch cooking has seen a resurgence in fresh herbs.
Searches on Waitrose.com demonstrate the demand for their delicate flavours, with searches for ‘fresh herbs’ over the last three months up 162% compared to last year and ‘potted fresh herbs’ up 175%.
Jane Shaw, Herbs buyer at Waitrose & Partners comments “It is great to see so many customers embracing and cooking with fresh herbs. There is such a wide variety available which can enhance and transform home cooking, from the woody and punchy flavours of rosemary and sage to the more fragrant and delicate basil and mint. Such is the growing demand, that we are delighted to announce we are adding eleven new cut herbs including Edible flowers, Sorrel and Lovage to our selection.”