A handful of years ago, kale began its transformation from humble garnish to beloved green. As kale’s reputation evolved, it showed up on more and more restaurant menus—from juice bars to fine dining establishments—and in more stores—fresh in the produce department, and eventually in other iterations throughout mass retailers, gourmet food stores, and corner markets alike.
Cynics thought the kale craze would fade as quickly as it seemingly began, but consumer demand proved them wrong. Kale remains a staple ingredient for many consumers today, a favorite green that’s incredibly versatile and jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients.
5 reasons why kale is still king
No question about it: consumers’ love for kale is here to stay. So let’s celebrate National Kale Day by exploring 5 reasons why consumers can’t get enough kale.
- Kale is a nutrient-rich and cost-effective ingredient. A poster child for superfoods, kale is impressively nutritious: the leafy green is full of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, fiber, potassium, and iron—and that’s only a partial list. It’s an affordable way to add a healthy dose of nutrients, as well as texture and heartiness, to a whole bunch of dishes.
- Convenience plus versatility: the secret to kale’s staying power. Enjoying kale is a snap. After it’s washed, it can be prepared in all kinds of ways: steamed, baked, boiled, sautéed, or raw and enjoyed in soups and stews, grilled sandwiches, hashes, and salads. Plus, with value-adds and meal and salad kits, it’s even easier for consumers to get their kale fix. Kale has even crept into happy hour—consumers are now sipping on kale-infused liquors, kale and gin cocktails, and kale mojitos—desserts (have you tried a kale chocolate chip cookie yet?), and even facial masks.
- ‘Tis the season for kale! Kale is a great ingredient for holiday meals and gatherings, and the appeal doesn’t end when the holidays wrap up. As consumers make their resolutions for the New Year, kale is a key ingredient in their green juices and smoothies.
- Consumers are purchasing more organic produce than ever, and organic kale is no exception. The organics category is becoming mainstream, and in recent years, the category has grown in just amount every measurable way: in volume, dollars spent, and even in conversations in the media. In a recent survey among U.S. consumers, conducted by Robinson Fresh, 51% of respondents reported purchasing organic produce within the last 30 days. What’s more, organic kale accounted for 89% of total sales of organic cooking greens1—consumers love their organic greens!
- Kale continues to align with evolving consumer eating habits. Consumer eating habits—such as the rise in plant-based diets—are always changing, but kale remains a fixture in many health and diet trends. Kale has also been holding its own in culinary and cooking trends. Plus, with new varieties of kale, there’s always something exciting to explore. Green kale is the most popular variety, but Tuscan, red, and rainbow (a blend of the three varieties) each bring a unique flavor profile and texture to the table.
National Kale Day comes once a year, but that doesn’t mean the celebration has to end. Keep touting all of the benefits of kale all year long!
If you’d like to explore more options for your kale program, connect with one of our fresh experts.