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Wednesday, November 18, 1998 Published at 17:20 GMT


Delia's golden eggs

Egging on the industry: Sales are up 10%

Delia Smith: "How to cook eggs perfectly"
Britain's egg producers are celebrating a 10% rise in sales thanks to Delia Smith's back-to-basics cookery programme.

Her BBC Two show How To Cook specialises in teaching viewers the culinary basics - and the first three shows concentrated on different ways of using eggs.

[ image: One of Delia's eggy creations]
One of Delia's eggy creations
Now, six weeks after the series began, 54 million more eggs than average have been sold, enough to make more than three gallons of custard, 13.5 million sponge cakes, or 27 million omelettes.

The industry body, the British Egg Information Service, is overjoyed at the surprise leap in sales.

Amanda Baiden: "Delia's really right to go back to the egg"
"We didn't expect it, but we think it's great. People obviously are remembering eggs after seeing them on Delia's show," said spokeswoman Tracy Rayne.

"We've probably taken eggs for granted in the past, but now people are remembering that eggs are versatile and more nutritious than fast food or pre-prepared snacks."

Not just egg sales up

The egg industry is not the only one to benefit from Delia Smith's backing.

Morecambe-based company Lune Catering Equipment usually specialises in selling direct to the catering trade.

[ image:  ]
But when it found out Ms Smith was to sing the praises of its omelette pan on her programme, it had to act quickly to meet demand.

It usually sells just under 200 pans a year, but 15 extra staff were taken on to cope with an extra 90,000 orders.

Now its goods are sold through magazine promotions and in shops nationwide.

"This has been great for us; we're now hoping we can promote some of the other products we make because of this," said a spokeswoman.

Magic touch well-known

Smith's magic touch is well-known in the industry. Last year supermarkets sold out of cranberries after she included them in a recipe.

[ image: Gary Rhodes: Called How To Cook
Gary Rhodes: Called How To Cook "insulting"
But her style hasn't won over all of her fellow chefs.

Her fellow TV chef Gary Rhodes described her show as "insulting," adding: "I don't need to be shown what boiling water looks like.

"I really don't believe that the majority of people cannot boil an egg. A programme should not be targeted at adults."

But the programme, which goes out on Tuesdays at 2030 GMT, is one of BBC Two's most popular, with audiences of nearly four million.

Her books and videos have proved a lucrative sideline, with How To Cook: Book One selling over 10m copies.

Tracy Rayne at the British Egg Information Service is understandably delighted with the programme's success.

"Many people will have forgotten basic things about cooking, and she also has plenty of other hints and tips."

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