Campaign could cut food imports
Asda has launched a campaign to grow all of the ingredients needed to make a curry in the UK.

It is testing growing techniques and setting aside land in the hope of producing the UK's first commercial crops of plants and spices normally only found in much hotter climates.

If successful, the move could cut food imports dramatically. This would reduce air miles and transport costs, while providing UK growers with a new market.

Asda fresh produce technologist Chris Wibberley said: 'We are on the verge of producing the ultimate home-grown curry. Instead of going for an Indian, people will genuinely be able to say that they're going for a British.'

The move is part of the supermarket's continuing programme to help UK growers expand into new areas.

Initial trials will concentrate on growing Doodhi, Mooli, baby aubergines and Karela in temperature-controlled glasshouses in Lancashire and Lincolnshire.

Plans are also underway to produce okra, a key ingredient for curry dish Bhindi Bhaji and mustard leaf, which is used in Sag.

Baby plants, with varieties carefully chosen to enable the crop to thrive in the UK's colder climate will be planted within the next few weeks.

Herbs such as coriander can already be grown in the UK, as well as a wide variety of hot chillies - including one of the hottest chillies in the world.

If successful, Asda's campaign would mean that every element in a chicken tikka massala - the most popular curry dish - would be produced in the UK.

Wibberley added: 'Developing home-grown ingredients makes perfect economic sense. It would finally give us true ownership of our favourite food and may even help create new uniquely British flavours in the process.'