After months of veg shortages, leading grocers have been busy developing a new generation of fruit and veg that could patch up the gap. Small, but mighty, it’s tipped to be the next health food craze – but will you buy into it?
At first glance, it looks like a view into a Borrower-sized world with maris pipers the size of a 50p piece and apples more like Smarties.
According to scientists, this new generation of micro fruit and veg is packed with all the nutrients of standard-sized fruit and veg, but at a fraction of the calories and cost – not to mention size.
So could this finally be a shrinking product that comes with benefits?
The idea for the new-sized fruit and veg was made up by a group of experts from the farming sector and supermarket industry, the Taskforce of Supermarkets and Horticulturists (TOSH).
Put together by the government last November, it has been working with scientists to identify new ways to cultivate fruit and veg in UK, and offset any future shortages.
According to the TOSH website, the micro-sized fruit and veg – from compact cabbages and courgettes, to mini melons – takes next to no time to grow and needs relatively little sunshine to ripen. This means they can be sold at a fraction of the price of standard-sized fruit and veg.
For comparison, a 1kg bag of new potatoes would set you back around £1, but a nutritionally equivalent 1kg bag of micro new potatoes will only cost around 50p, which is unbelievably good value.
What’s more, the petite potatoes take minutes to cook and while they may not be quite as filling as standard spuds, they, along with the other mini products, have been hailed as an excellent means of cutting down on calories without losing any of the goodness.
Of course, much of this produce has been sourced from genetically modified crops, which has received some criticism in the past.
However, those looking for a more organic approach, may be pleased to hear that a small cooperative of farmers in Thanet, Kent are already producing micro crops grown on bonsai trees.
The Bonkers Bonsai Farms will be selling produce in all major supermarkets over the next few weeks and head farmer, Frank Little believes its bonsai bananas, in particular, will disappear in seconds.
He said: ‘Micro fruit and veg is a triumph in horticultural science. It will allow parents who struggle to get their kids to eat their greens to present them with nutrient-packed meals with untraceable veg.
‘And with apples and pears the size of Smarties, they’d be foolish to refuse them.’
So, will you be buying into this new craze? Could this breakthrough get more kids eating their greens and help dieters cut back on calories? Or do you think it’s all a bit of a joke?