Bags of potatoes grown by flood-hit producers are carrying special blue stickers to encourage shoppers to buy them despite their less-than-perfect appearance.
Potato growers – mainly those in Lincolnshire, Norfolk and parts of Yorkshire – have been badly hit by crop damage after suffering the worst flooding since 2012.
Tesco said it will sell packs of potatoes grown in the region from this week with the blue sticker, which reads: “I’m not looking my gorgeous normal self but I still taste great. Buy me and support British farmers affected by the floods.”
It follows a move by the supermarket to widen the specifications set by retailers governing the overall look and quality of fruit and vegetables.
Tesco, which buys around 60% of its premium quality potatoes from the east of England, said the potatoes could be slightly mis-shapen, with blemishes and discolouring.
Tesco potato buyer Ben Rowbotham said: “In order to support our British growers in eastern regions, we have worked collaboratively with supplier Branston to ensure farmers are supported and customers are not facing a shortfall at this key time.
“This means that some of our premium quality Finest range potatoes won’t look as bright as they normally do.”
Branston commercial director Richard Clark said: “This autumn’s waterlogged fields have prevented or delayed harvesting. In some cases up to half the crop has been lost and we are still trying to harvest the remaining 20% of our tonnages.”
Levy body AHDB said farmers had “persevered in the face of adversity”.
It reassured customers the success of the harvest and volume of stored crop meant Christmas roast potatoes and crisps were expected to be safe.
Historically 2012 was the last wettest year when 14.8in (375mm) of rain fell in the UK, but not as wet as in 2000 when 19.6in (498mm) hit the country, according to data from AHDB’s weather hub.