The nation’s love for an Indian curry is spilling into traditional British gardens as demand for chilli plants soars, according to home improvement retailer Homebase.
A trend to ‘Grow Your Own’ curry has seen sales of some chilli plants increase by a whopping 130% in the last year alone, with more than 100,000 chilli pepper plants sold by the chain so far.
Homebase claims customers say that growing their own plants produces chillies which have a fresher, hotter flavour compared with store-bought varieties. Riper chillies, left on the plant for longer, can have a sweeter and more mature underlying taste than those picked early for export, it adds.
Homebase Head of Garden Matthew Compton said: “Picking a chilli straight from a bush gives curry cooks the authentic, refreshing taste of Indian dishes at their very best. You could almost say that it is second to naan.”
Ready-established chilli plants are the biggest sellers at Homebase, but demand is also growing for a wide variety of chilli plant seeds. Other curry ingredients, including coriander and garlic, are also being grown in UK homes in rapidly increasing volumes, the group notes.
Homebase operates more than 340 out-of-town stores throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland serving around 64 million customers a year. In the financial year to February 2012, Homebase sales were £1.5 billion and it employed some 19,000 people across the business. Homebase is part of Home Retail Group.