Photo courtesy of Tesco

Demand for pumpkins expected to soar as Brits celebrate, gather more this season

Produce Business report

It’s pumpkin season and that means demand will be high for the versatile fruit during the next month.

With a great quality crop this year according to Oakley Farms in Cambridgshire, Tesco is expecting to see a sizable bump in sales as shoppers prep for family gatherings and meals.

The retailer said it could see a 15% increase in sales, not only from its super popular novelty ‘Red Devil’ and ‘White Ghost’ varieties but also from its edible Sweet Culinary pumpkins. It credits the plant-based craze for the boon, even from the non-tradition cooking item.

“We are anticipating demand to be very strong following the disappointment of Halloween parties being cancelled last year due to lockdown,” Tesco buyer Emily Hampson said. “Our pumpkins will last well in homes until Halloween so long as [customers] don’t carve them until a couple of days before. The Sweet Culinary variety is already proving popular, especially with vegans who not only make traditional pies and soup out of them but also use them as centrepiece dishes.”

Demand for some novelty pumpkins rose by 60% last year during a period in which the nation still was heavily locked down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the variety expected to explode again at the tills is Autumnal Squash, which could rise by as much as 300% this month. Of course, Tesco is carrying standard carving pumpkins, as well as another variety known as Munchkin.

For Oakley Farms, this year provided another huge payoff for consumers – some five million pumpkins.

“The quality this year is fantastic and over the last few months we have had just the right amount of sunshine and rain,” says Steve Whitworth, manager of Oakley Farms. “We are also seeing less pumpkins go to waste each year as both us and Tesco give whatever surplus we have left over to food charities like FareShare. Last year, our surplus pumpkins and courgettes led to more than 310,000 meals being created to feed people experiencing food poverty.”



The Latest from PBUK

Subscribe to PBUK!

Get regular produce industry insights, sign up for our email newsletter below.