Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Nigella effect

From the UK's Daily Mail.

The Nigella effect strips supermarkets bare of semolina for perfect Christmas spuds

For generations who were subjected to sticky milk puddings at school, semolina is the stuff of nightmares.
But thanks to Nigella Lawson, the ground wheat product has been transformed into a 21st century must-have.
Supermarket shelves were stripped bare by fans desperate to follow her instructions for making 'perfect roast potatoes' as part of Christmas dinner.
The TV cook and self- styled Domestic Goddess suggests sprinkling semolina on parboiled potatoes as an alternative to flour before roasting them in goose fat.
She first used the idea in her Christmas Kitchen series two years ago. It was repeated this month with three extra programmes to coincide with the release of her book Nigella Christmas, which also features the recipe.
A spokesman for Asda said its sales of semolina had already doubled because of Nigella and there was a further increase of 65 per cent in the run-up to Christmas.
'The only explanation is that people are using it for Nigella's roast potatoes. Luckily we did not sell out anywhere.'
Sainsbury's said its sales of semolina had increased by 35 per cent in the last year. 'Obviously Nigella is a very influential person. There was a similar big increase in demand a couple of years ago when she recommended using goose fat.'
The best-known figure for sparking huge sales increases in products and types of food is Delia Smith The term 'Delia effect' to describe a rush on any item she recommended entered the Collins English Dictionary in 2001.
Delia's recipes have previously led to a huge increase in sales of cranberries, limes, salted capers and liquid glucose. When she recommended a ten-inch metal pan as 'a little gem' for omelette making, it rescued the struggling firm, which had been selling only 200 of the pans a year.
Lune Metal Products of Lancashire had to take on extra staff to make 90,000 new pans in just four months.
Sales of asparagus shot up after being featured in Jamie Oliver's TV adverts, while Gordon Ramsay's cooking of tripe boosted sales by 400 per cent.


Adrasteia said...

hehe, I went on a mad search for semolina not too long ago (I can't remember what for) and couldn't find it anywhere. I was getting really frustrated and then found one lone packet at Pennisi's. I grabbed it, so excited that I finally found some, and went back to my car. I came into Pennisi's through the larger walkway, but went out through the smaller door, past all these massive packets of semolina. I felt so silly.

But I couldn't find it anywhere else!

Pinky said...

I know what you mean. I always forget about that little door section at Pennisi's. And the hilarious thing about the semolina shortage is that you only need maybe a tablespoon of semolina to do a billion crispy roast potatoes... I have a giant jar of semolina just sitting on the bench now because I don't really do much else with it besides those spuds. Maybe the supermarkets should start selling it in little 100gm packets, called 'Nigella Packs'.