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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 08:14 GMT
Nation split over humble sprout
The popularity of Brussels sprouts is waning in the North
A North/South divide has developed - in the popularity of the humble Brussels sprout.

A new study shows that those preparing for festive feasts on Tyneside are shunning the traditional Christmas vegetable.

Supermarket chain Safeway analysed sprout sales from stores across the UK and discovered its branch in the Byker area of Newcastle sells just 675 a week on average.

This compares with Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, the sprout capital of the UK, which consumes around 57,000 of the much-maligned vegetable in a typical week.

Byker, made famous by the popular children's TV drama Byker Grove, which made stars of Pop Idol hosts Ant and Dec, was bottom in a list of Safeway's 482 stores.

The survey shows support for sprouts generally increases the further south you are in the UK.

Christmas dinner

Residents of Newport, Isle of Wight, are the second biggest sprout fans, munching through an average 28,375 a week.

They are followed by shoppers in Guernsey (27,000 a week), Hastings, East Sussex (26,750 a week), and Northampton (25,625 a week) in fifth place.

The 2002 sprout capital, Diss in Norfolk, has dropped to 31st in the table.

The Scots, in contrast, are not huge fans of the vegetable, according to the study.

Elaine Young, fresh produce sourcing manager at Safeway, said: "Christmas dinner just wouldn't be the same without sprouts but they are clearly more popular in the South than the North.

"It was interesting to find out which towns love sprouts and which towns hate them and Clacton people are obviously absolutely mad about them.

"Despite the reported shortage after the summer heatwave we have worked very closely with our British growers to ensure we have plenty of the nation's favourite Christmas vegetables in our stores."

Sprout festival blows into town
31 Oct 03  |  Gloucestershire
Town tops sprout lovers' table
17 Dec 02  |  England

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