Pink and yellow mushrooms hit shops
Strange-looking pink and yellow mushrooms are set to liven up the vegetable aisle when they go on sale.
The exotic mushrooms are not grown in some far-flung part of the world, but in a small village in Lancashire.
Supermarket giant Tesco hopes the Pink and Yellow Oyster mushrooms will further boost demand for gourmet mushrooms, which have become one of the fastest-growing areas of the UK's fresh produce market.
In the last 12 weeks demand for exotic mushrooms has rocketed by 55% as more retailers begin to stock them, a spokesman for the retailer said.
Simon Mandelbaum, Tesco's mushroom buyer, said: "These mushrooms are so vividly coloured they literally stop people in their tracks and make them do a double-take.
"Parents will love them as they should add a lot of interest to mealtime for kids and help encourage them to eat their vegetables. Not so long ago gourmet mushrooms were still the preserve of real foodies and could generally only be found in specialist shops.
"Over the last few years that has changed and TV celebrity chefs such as Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White have featured them in their programmes and they have started to go mainstream."
The mushrooms are produced by specialist grower Smithy Mushrooms, which is based in Ormskirk, Lancashire, and which has been growing exotic varieties for 20 years.
They originate from the tropics and have a mild, creamy flavour and velvety texture, Tesco said, and they will be sold in a special pack with another exotic variety, Pioppino, and cost £1.59 per pack.
Oyster mushrooms are also high in nutrients. According to a study published in the journal Food Chemistry, Oyster mushrooms contain significant levels of zinc, iron and potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, folic acid, niacin, and vitamins B1 and B2.