Weighing 250 grams each, the extra large lemons come from a swollen crop in Spain where heavy rainfall led to the super sized citrus.
Usually the Emperor lemons are not available in the UK because they are in such short supply but following the wet weather, Spanish growers had an abundance of the giant crop which was snapped up by Tesco.
The supermarket says stocking the lemons is part of an on-going commitment to make sure fresh produce from suppliers does not go to waste.
A normal unwaxed lemon is around 125 grams, while the Emperor is 250 grams. Tesco is selling a four pack weighing around 1kg and priced at £1.75.
“Thanks to our direct relationship we have been able to adapt our specifications and design a new pack to ensure that none of these large lemons go to waste. These lemons are great for juicing making them perfect for customers and our growers,” says Ben Rowbotham, buying manager of citrus.
Heavy rains followed by sub zero temperatures and frosts caused havoc in Spanish growing regions earlier this year leading to widespread damage among several vegetables crops including broccoli, courgettes, peppers and lettuce.
However, the extra rain was a plus point for the Emperor lemons.
“This winter, the rains in Spain were quite a pain, as they caused floods that destroyed many crops. It was the worst weather to hit production in over 30 years. This unprecedented weather led to price rises and shortages with some products such as courgettes, peppers and leafy salads. In some cases over 40% of the crop was lost,” adds Rowbotham.
“We’re increasingly widening our specifications to give customers as much choice in produce as nature provides. We no longer stipulate stringent specifications to our producers. The Perfectly Imperfect range uses wonky fruit and vegetables and offer them to customers to help prevent food waste on farms and in production.
“The range includes cucumbers, strawberries, courgettes, pears and many other popular fruits and vegetables.”
So far, 68 million portions of fruit have been saved from going to waste through the Perfectly Imperfect range, according to Tesco.
“Whilst visual appearance is still important for many customers we know that it is taste that’s really important, at great value prices. Our growers have told us that they love the Perfectly Imperfect range, because it means we can take much more of the crop. We love it because it allows us to make the most of the fresh produce we can sell in our stores,” adds Rowbotham.