CHESHUNT, England, Feb. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Tesco Real Food has revealed that Italian food is growing ever more popular in the UK.
Antipasti and olives, once considered posh people's nibbles, have surprisingly become one of Britain's fastest growing culinary trends on the back of the ever-growing love for Italian food and Italian recipes.
In the last year demand for the starters has taken off with sales rising by 42 per cent across all UK retailers in a market worth 38m pounds Sterling.
At Tesco, antipasti and olives, in particular the dressed variety, have become the fastest growing foods on its deli counters.
So great is the UK's appetite for olives that the supermarket now sells 16 different varieties having more than doubled its range in the last year.
This follows news that pizza has become the UK's favourite food with sales dwarfing those of former top seller curry by well over 2 to 1.*
And to further underline the UK's love of the Italian dining experience, the country's wine has grown in the UK by 15 per cent - strong growth for a mature market - with it being outperformed only by Spanish and Chilean wines in the last year.
Said Tesco deli counters buyer Nicola Jamieson: "Our love of Italian food continues to grow but while pizza and pasta have long been British favourites its elegant antipasti and olives and also nice Italian wine which have suddenly become super trendy.
"Until only recently antipasti and dressed olives would have been considered posh peoples' nibbles.
"But in the last year they have started to become mainstream - a trend which has grown directly from our love of pizzas, pasta and Italian desserts.
"Pizzas are already our favourite dish, while tiramisu and profiteroles have long established themselves as dessert favourites so antipasti, olives and say, a nice Pinot Grigio, complete the Italian dining experience."
Antipasti means 'before the meal' in Italian and is the traditional first course of an Italian meal.
Typical antipasti foods include sundried tomatoes, char-grilled peppers, artichoke hearts, semi-dried tomatoes, cherry peppers, stuffed vine leaves, and flat white anchovies.
Added Tesco's Nicola Jamieson: "While olives have always been popular it is the new stuffed and dressed varieties that are creating the current boom, both as a healthy aperitif but also as general party food nibbles."
Included in Tesco's dressed olive range are varieties with sundried tomatoes, lemon and garlic, roasted vegetables, jalapeno peppers, piri piri, garlic, Spanish mix with garlic, chilli and thyme, feta cheese, chilli and basil, and Manchego cheese.
Olives and olive oil are a good source of healthy mono-unsaturated fats and vitamin E. They are also a good source of iron, dietary fibre and copper.
About Tesco Real Food:
The Tesco Real Food website is packed with thousands of inspiring, delicious recipes to suit any occasion. Whether customers are looking for a quick mid-week meal for the family or something for a special event, visitors are sure to find exactly what they're looking for. In addition, a range of step-by-step cooking tips and videos to help improve kitchen skills can be found, as well as healthy eating and cooking with kids sections. To make shopping even easier, every recipe has a ready-made shopping list that can be used to add all the ingredients to the shopping basket in just a few clicks.
Note to editors:
* In the last year Brits bought a total of 466 million pizzas from UK stores compared with 191 million curries. (Kantar Worldpanel July 2010).
SOURCE Tesco Real Food