The UK's leading retailer Tesco has reported that sales of its pomegranate juice are up 300 per cent since the start of the year, and is now selling 500,000 litres per week.
It is not the first time that British supermarkets have reported soaring sales of fruit this year. In May Tesco and Waitrose said had seen a more than 150 per cent increase in blueberry sales over the past year.
Blueberries are increasingly recognized as a 'brain food' thanks to a wave of US studies in recent months.
Pomegranate juice is best known for its it heart health benefits after Israeli scientists demonstrated that the fruit juice, taken daily, prevented the thickening of arteries (Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33).
In other studies at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, the juice of the fruit was found to slow down cholesterol oxidation by almost half, and reduce the retention of LDL.
UK scientists based at Hammersmith hospital in London have now launched a trial to find out whether the juice could be an effective prevention measure against heart disease.
"Preliminary studies suggest that pomegranate juice may contain almost three times the total antioxidant ability compared to the same quantity of green tea or red wine," said cardiologist Dr Richard Bogle.
While the juice brand sold by Tesco - Pomegreat - does not carry any health claims it is endorsed by the cholesterol charity HEART UK.
Pomegranates contain polyphenols, tannins and anthocyanins, all thought to help fight disease. A glass of the juice is also said to provide 100 per cent RDA of folic acid, a substantial amount of potassium and niacin, and half an adult's RDA of the vitamins A, C and E.
Fruit juices on the whole are soaring in the UK as British shoppers look for healthier foods.
Over the past two years alone sales of chilled, high quality and natural juice have increased by a staggering 60 per cent to some £768 million (€1.1bn), according to Mintel data.
In 2004, fruit juice accounted for 60 per cent of the overall £2.32 billion market for fruit juice and juice drinks (those containing less than 100 per cent fruit juice with added ingredients).