'Tearless' Onions to Go on Sale in UK For the First Time

It took over 35 years of breeding to develop a new branded variety of onion; the first sweet, tearless onions to go on sale.

"Sunions", which have been available in the US since 2018, are said to be a sweet variety of the vegetable that "doesn't reduce cooks to tears".

Grown in Spain, they will retail at £1.50 for a three-pack when they go on sale online and in selected stores from Tuesday next week.

The products were first developed by agricultural giant Bayer - then taken over by chemicals firm BASF when it acquired some of Bayer's seeds and crop business.

They were not created through genetic modification, instead coming about after decades of cross-breeding of less pungent strains of onion.

"Many people have tried to understand how to stop crying when cutting onions: by freezing the onion, soaking it in water, cutting in a certain way, using a spoon - the list is endless, but unfortunately, they still make you cry," said Nasir Ahmed, UK consumer and customer manager of BASF's vegetable seeds division. "All that has now changed, thanks to BASF developing Sunions," he added.

A website promoting the products says: "Volatile compounds in onions are responsible for tearing and pungent flavour and the amounts of those compounds in other onions remain the same or increase over time.

"In Sunions, these compounds do the exact opposite and decrease to create a tearless, sweet and mild onion."

However, the products were described in a review published by the Washington Post - which confirmed they did not cause tears - as "flavourless".

Waitrose is set to begin selling the new variety from 18 January for a limited period of time.