Edible pumpkins enjoy surge in demand amid plant-based food boom

The vegan boom has helped swell demand for edible pumpkins to record levels, a supermarket buyer has said.

Tesco’s dedicated pumpkin grower planted 100,000 of the eating variety this year, which have a sweeter flavour than the carving variety.

This is the largest number yet, and an increase of 150% in the last two years.

Oakley Farms, near Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, is one of the UK’s largest suppliers of pumpkins and grows around five million of the winter squash each year.

Steve Whitworth, of Oakley Farms, said: “Britain is becoming more like America in that pumpkins are not only bought to carve but also to eat, and their sweet flesh is delicious in soups and pies.

“As a result of this growing popularity, we’ve planted 100,000 sweet cooking pumpkins this year.”

Tesco pumpkin buyer David Tavernor said: “Pumpkins are no longer a novelty fruit only bought by parents for their kids as an essential Halloween decoration.

“Thanks to the plant-based food revolution, they’ve become really popular with vegans, even taking pride of place as a Christmas centrepiece for the festive feast.

“The edible ones are far sweeter than the carving variety and, because of the growing demand, we’ve re-branded them this year as Sweet Cooking Pumpkins.”

The supermarket is selling four varieties of pumpkin this year – novelty including devil red and ghost white types, carving in different sizes, sweet cooking, and munchkin.

The biggest market for pumpkins remains the Halloween carving variety.