The retailer said that another reason behind its lifting of color quality specifications was to help cut down on food waste in the home by to an extra two days shelf life.
It highlighted that despite the skin being slightly green, the fruit is still “as crisp and zesty” as when it is yellow.
Spain is the U.K.’s main lemon supplier through spring, before switching to South African fruit.
Tesco said the South African lemon season normally ramps up in late June, taking over as the U.K.’s main supply source, but it said it will now take the greener lemons earlier than usual to keep supplies going.
In late May, Spain’s Interprofessional Lemon and Grapefruit Association (AILIMPO) general manager José Antonio García told Fresh Fruit Portal the industry was expecting a swift end to its season due to a 40% year-on-year reduction in the late season Verna variety.
The production decline is due to a poor flowering period in May last year, he said.
Tesco citrus fruit buyer Savia Weidinger said: “These greener lemons that we now have on sale are already mature and perfect tasting inside but need longer for the skin to turn yellow.”
She said the South African crop tends to color up toward the end of June as evenings cool.
“The move not only means that shoppers will again be easily able to buy a fruit that is growing in popularity but they will gain extra freshness,” she said.
The greener lemons will be available in 800 Tesco stores across the U.K.
Lemon demand rose by more than 10% last year, according to Tesco, with more people using them in recipes and juicing.