It was once deemed the most controversial element of Christmas dinner, but now the Brussels sprout has graduated to being this year’s must-have festive decoration.
The green vegetable has finally shaken off its bad reputation to become the inspiration for Christmas decorations, stationery, and party games at Britain’s biggest retailers.
Waitrose has launched a £35 festive wreath adorned with real sprouts instead of ribbons and baubles, which it says is aimed at families who would usually turn their noses up at the brassica.
And in another sign that sprouts are now at the height of fashion, a Brussels sprout bauble crated by John Lewis sold out after just two weeks on sale.
The department store said it was selling twice the amount of Brussels Sprouts decorations than last year with its range of Sprout-themed party wear up 38.5 per cent. Also on offer are sprout-themed paper chains and garlands, sprout paper glasses and sprout place cards.
It comes as vegetables are fast replacing turkey as the centrepiece of Christmas dinner, as retailers offer more vegetarian and vegan dishes than ever before. Marks and Spencer is leading the way by showcasing more meat-free Christmas dinner main courses on its 2017 menu than meat options.
The supermarket said it is hoping that its growing “flexitarian” customer base will swap traditional turkey for its new range of gourmet plant-based Christmas dinners – even if they are not full time vegetarians.
And in a further sign that shoppers are now fully embracing the once-scorned sprout, they are buying specially designed sprout corers which remove stems, ensuring the vegetables are cooked more evenly.
Lisa Rutherford, John Lewis’s buyer for stationery, said: “The sprout has become a really strong icon for us. It’s a bit like Marmite – you either love them or you hate them and they are always sure to spark a debate.
“With Britain having a tough year we have seen a real increase in novelty products across the board and the sprout trend injects the colour and humour into parties that people of all ages can enjoy.”