Tesco is now stocking green lemons after a shortage in supply from Spanish growers meant it had to relax its quality specifications.
The UK supermarket revealed it is now accepting the green lemons, which have the same ‘zesty’ and ‘robust’ taste of lemons that have turned completely yellow, just with an unripened rind, in an attempt to avoid shortages in its UK stores.
Tesco usually has colour specifications in place that mean green lemons wouldn’t make it into stores.
The decision also helps avoid further food waste, by adding another two days shelf life to the fruit as it ripens and turns yellow.
Poor growing conditions in Spain – which supplies the UK with the bulk of the fruit until the end of spring – has meant Tesco has had to source its lemons from South Africa – who traditionally take over as the UK’s main supplier in late June – earlier than usual, hence the greener lemons.
‘These greener lemons that we now have on sale are already mature and perfect tasting inside but need longer for the skin to turn yellow,’ said Tesco’s citrus fruit buyer Savia Weidinger-Reich.
‘With the South African crop, that happens towards the end of June as evenings cool, which helps the fruit to colour. The move not only means that shoppers will again be easily able to buy a fruit that is growing in popularity, but they will gain extra freshness.’
Tesco assure customers that they are unlikely to confuse the greener lemons – which are the same price as yellow ones – with limes as the shape is larger and more distinctive.
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This isn’t the first time the supermarket has gone off-spec when it comes to their choice of crop.
Last October the stores stocked green satsumas and clementines in a bid to reduce food waste.
The skins of the fruits were green due to warm weather in Spain meaning they didn’t turn their usual colour, but the flesh inside was orange, ripe and edible.