Making more of salad days

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The Independent Online
Britain's growers must turn to speciality crops in a bid to boost the country's withering salad industry, according to research published today. The study, by scientists at Strathclyde University, said Britain's vegetable farmers now have a clear opportunity to improve the country's pounds 224m salad industry.

Britain has the lowest salad consumption rate in Europe, according to the report. It said UK consumers eat only 15kg of salads a year, compared to the Spanish, who eat more than 95kg.

The study's authors said producers should not concentrate on commodity products, but must focus on speciality lines, such as cherry, truss and plum tomatoes, unusual varieties of lettuce and other leaf crops.

The British salad industry produces around 400,000 tonnes of produce worth pounds 224m in retail terms. The European industry is worth around pounds 6bn. Spain is the largest producer of salads, with 5.1 million tonnes produced in 1994 - 55 per cent of the market. Britain is one of Europe's main salad importers, accounting for more than half of domestic consumption.