Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 12:37 UK

Teenager plans carrot 'panic buy'

Freya Valentine
Freya Valentine said she had not heard of supermarkets running out of carrots

A teenager could be behind a surge in global carrot sales after setting up a popular Facebook page as a joke, urging people to "panic buy" the vegetable.

Supermarkets are bracing themselves after more than 230,000 people joined Freya Valentine's group.

It urges people to "go out and buy a load of carrots" on 15 May.

Ms Valentine, of Goring, Oxfordshire, who is celebrating her 19th birthday, said the interest highlighted the power of social networking sites.

She said she had the idea in January on a night out and within weeks her group had about 60,000 members.

To be honest, I wish I could say something really good, like I'm trying to make a political point but I'm not
Freya Valentine
"It all went a bit quiet in April but suddenly it got really massive again," she told the BBC News website.

"I certainly wasn't expecting the response I've got and for people to be so interested."

Ms Valentine, who is on a gap year before starting university, said there was not real point to the exercise other than "the fact that a global shortage of carrots would be quite a laugh".

The date was chosen because it was her birthday.

She added that she would be popping out to buy some carrots in a couple of supermarkets in her nearest town of Reading, Berkshire, later in the day.

Carrot facts
The average person will consume 10,866 carrots in a lifetime
The longest carrot recorded was 5.14m (16ft 10.5in) in 1996
Carrots were first grown as a medicine not a food
Carrots are not always orange and can also be found in purple, white, red or yellow
The carrot is a member of the parsley family including species such as celery, parsnip, fennel, dill and coriander

"To be honest, I wish I could say something really good, like I'm trying to make a political point but I'm not.

"But it does demonstrate the power of social networking site that there are more than 200,000 plus members."

She said there had been media interest in her campaign from around the world, as far away as New Zealand and Australia.

When asked how many carrots she expected each person to buy, she said: "A trolley full of carrots is probably a bit much to expect."

But other Facebook groups ask people not to take part in the prank.

One says: "This group is in response to Facebook junkies who have dedicated their precious May 15th to panic buying carrots in an attempt to deprive Britain (and heaven knows how many other countries) of vital vitamins and orangey goodness that comes only from everyone's favourite vegetable!

Other Facebook groups urge against panic buying carrots

"If you see anyone irresponsibly filling a shopping trolley with copious amounts of carrots, stop them and question them as to why they need to buy so many carrots."

So far, Ms Valentine said she had not heard of any supermarkets running out of the vegetable.

A spokesman for one of the UK's top four supermarkets, Asda, said he did not think the prank would have too much of an effect.

"I'm sure they'll be a short uplift but nothing we can't cope with," he said.

Scientists unveil 'supercarrot'
15 Jan 08 |  Health

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