Skip to main content /WORLD /WORLD

Purple carrots to go on sale

Purple carrots
The traditional purple carrot is being grown in the UK for the first time  

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The carrot is to return to its roots when it goes on sale in what's said to be its true colour of purple this summer.

Growers say they have dug up the vegetable's original colour and will revert to the new hue this summer for the first time in Europe in five centuries.

Shoppers in the UK will also be able to buy black-and-white as well as previously unseen rainbow-coloured carrots by next year.

Purple carrots, which will retain their orange-coloured centre, will appear on the shelves of Sainsbury's supermarkets at a slightly higher price than the more familiar version.

A 500-gram bag of purple carrots will cost £1.19 ($1.73) compared to £1.09 ($1.59) for orange ones.

Which of the following coloured carrots would you buy?

View Results


Purple-coloured carrots, which contain purple-red pigments called anthocyanins, were first grown in the Middle and Far East, along with white, red, yellow, green and black versions, according to the grocer.

The Dutch then introduced the orange pigment in honour of its national colour in the 16th century.

Orange carrots have some health advantages thanks to beta carotene, which is a form of Vitamin A, essential for vision in dim light and healthy skin.

It will be the first time that purple carrots will have been grown in the UK. Sainsbury's hopes the bright colours and sweet flavour will encourage children to eat more carrots.

It is also believed they provide extra protection against some forms of cancer and heart disease. A recent study concluded they contain pigments that act as antioxidants.

Russell Crowe, Sainsbury's root buyer, said: "We are very excited to have dug up old ground and sell the purple carrot exclusively.

"Hopefully, this unusual colour will influence children to eat more vegetables while parents can rest assured that there is nothing artificial about the carrots."

The purple carrots are being grown in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Mark Spurdens, technical manager for food company Isleham Fresh Produce which is growing the crop, said: "They're different. They've had a little bit of extra care and attention in the way they've been raised."




Back to the top