Sales of asparagus are soaring, thanks to the endorsement of the TV celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, according to the Independent newspaper.

Asparagus sales in supermarket Sainsbury has risen by 290% following television adverts by Oliver, who signed a new £1m (US$1.83m) deal with Sainsbury in April.

Pack sales have risen from 700,000 to 1.4m. "Our asparagus [is] flying off the shelves," said Sainsbury's trading manager John Maylam. Rivals have also benefited from Oliver's endorsement - a phenomenon witnessed when Delia Smith plugged Maldon Sea Salt and cranberries in her cookbooks.