New Zealanders' kale obsession seemingly over

Source: 1News

Kale has fallen out of favour with New Zealand consumers, with the country's largest grower of salad crops reporting a significant decline in sales.

Kale.

By Sally Murphy of rnz.co.nz

Leaderbrand said its internal numbers indicated sales for pure baby kale has declined by almost 40 per cent over the past four years.

It said Google searches for kale in Australia and New Zealand peaked in mid-2014 and at that time plenty of people had been baking leaves to make chips, mixing leaves into smoothies and adding it into their salads.

Leaderbrand chief executive Richard Burke said during the peak of New Zealand's kale obsession the company had been growing the crop at two sites, but it had now reduced plantings in response to much weaker demand.

"We picked up on the kale trend a few years back and it really did pick up some steam and became quite a big product for us. But, we've really seen that drop off over recent years, and particularly over the past 12 months," Burke said.

"So, kale has certainly fallen out of favour with a lot of New Zealanders."

Richard Burke suspected the decline was because, despite the health benefits, the bitter aftertaste and rough texture of kale hadn't been for everyone.

"I have a personal view because I've never been a big fan of the flavour of kale and, you know, we were quite big growers of it.

"So, we tried plenty of ways of eating and it's not the most pleasant eating experience.

"Most people recommend you do a whole lot of stuff with it to make it edible," he said.

Burke said spinach was the new star of the show with strong continued sales and baby lettuce lines were also doing well.

Leaderbrand's research found those who remained loyal kale consumers tended to be young singles and young couples.