Press Centre

The ultimate British curry is on its way

ASDA has launched a daring campaign to grow all of the ingredients needed for a good curry – here, in the UK.

It is testing new growing techniques and setting aside land in the hope of producing the UK’s first commercial crops of plants and spices normally only found in much hotter climates.

If successful the move could cut food imports dramatically, reducing air miles and transport costs – while providing British growers with a huge new market.

Said ASDA fresh produce technologist Chris Wibberley: “We are on the verge of producing the ultimate home grown curry.

“Instead, of going for an Indian, people will genuinely be able to say that they’re going for a British.”

The move is part of the supermarket’s continuing programme to help British growers expand into new areas.

Initial trials will concentrate on growing Doodhi, Mooli, baby aubergines and Karela in temperature-controlled glass houses in Lancashire and Lincolnshire.

However, plans are also underway to produce okra, a key ingredient for curry dish Bhindi Bhaji and mustard leaf, used in Sag.

Baby plants, with varieties carefully chosen to enable the crop to thrive in Britain’s colder climate will be planted within the next few weeks.

Herbs such as coriander can already be grown in the UK as well as a wide variety of hot chillies – including one of the hottest chillies in the world.

If successful, ASDA’s campaign would mean that every element in a chicken tikka massala – the most popular curry dish – would be produced in the UK.

Said ASDA’s Chris Wibberley: “Hundreds of thousands of curries are eaten across the country every week – it’s the official British dish.

“Developing home grown ingredients makes perfect economic sense. It would finally give us true ownership of our favourite food – and may even help create new uniquely British flavours in the process.

“If successful, it won’t be long before we hear characters from the radio soap opera The Archers talking about harvesting crops of okra and chillies around Ambridge.”

Experts expect ASDA’s campaign to produce results within the next three years.

Only adapting ginger to grow cost effectively in the British climate has so far proved challenging for plant scientists. A wide variety of rice can already be grown all over Europe.

Posted in Press Centre on 25 March 2007