Green leafy kale a growing trend in foods and drinks

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th April 2013

Kale, a green leafy cabbage-like vegetable, is a growing trend in the US and UK markets, according to global market research organisation Innova Market Insights.

There has been a rise in use of the vegetable, which is part of the Brassica family that also includes broccoli and cauliflower, in a wide range of packaged food and drink products in recent years. The total number of global introductions of food or drink products with kale as an ingredient have more than trebled over the five-year period to the end of 2012, said Innova Market Insights.

Kale, which is a vegetable traditionally used in many parts of the world, including Europe, Africa and China, had seen a decline in popularity as a wider range of alternatives started to appear.

“More recently, rising interest in healthy eating and winter-time availability have regenerated interest in its use, supported by a growing presence on restaurant menus and ongoing promotional activity by TV chefs,” said Lu Ann Williams, Research Manager at Innova Market Insights.

US market

The US has seen a particularly strong move towards more use of kale, accounting for over 60 per cent of global 2012 product introductions featuring kale. According to Innova Market Insights, kale has appeared in the US in a wide range of product types, led by supplements, fruit and vegetable products, soft drinks and snacks.

New products in the US that had kale as an ingredient included Pasta Prima’s ‘Superfood Spinach and Kale Ravioli’, and Bex Brands’ Suja cold pressed juice blends, which featured kale in both the ‘Glow’ and ‘Green Supreme’ varieties. Leading soup company, Heinz, also released a product containing kale in 2012 – its ‘Mediterranean-style Parmesan, Kale and Seared Italian Sausage Soup’.

The launch of new products containing kale has continued into 2013, according to Innova Market Insights, with Fresh & Easy’s Eatwell range expanding to include products such as ‘Kale Caesar Salad’, ‘Kale and Edamame Saute’, and ‘Super Soup Mightily Green Vegetables’.

UK market

The UK has also seen a rising interest in the use of kale as a vegetable, according to Innova Market Insights, and an increase the launch of new prepared foods containing the vegetable, in particular in seasonal launches in the soups sector.

Chilled soups market leader New Covent Garden introduced its ‘Winter Broth with Bacon and Curly Kale’ in early 2013, and ‘free-from’ brand Soupologie included a ‘Spinach and Kale with Roasted Garlic’ variant in its spring season range.

Innova Market Insights also noted the use of kale to make chips in both the US and the UK.

One of the new products in 2012 containing kale