The Surprising Restaurant That Used To Be One Of The Largest Kale Purchasers

Love it or hate it, kale is here to stay. One of the most nutrient-dense foods available, it's jam packed with all kinds of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and cancer-fighting compounds, according to Healthline. Kale has earned its superfood status and then some. These days, you can't turn around without running into the hearty cruciferous powerhouse in some form or other, whether in a green smoothie, as a healthier chip, in a Caesar salad alternative, or layered into lasagna. In just a few years, kale seemingly became the go-to green of anyone trying to eat a healthier and more balanced diet, thanks in part to some high-profile celebrity and other endorsements.

In 2010, Dr. Oz featured kale on one of his shows, and a year later, Gwyneth Paltrow made kale chips on television, reports Mind Body Green. Bon Appétit deemed 2012 the year of kale, while Time included kale in its "Top 10 Food Trends of 2012." Then Beyonce wore a sweatshirt emblazoned with "Kale" in a music video in 2014. And just like that, kale became everyone's new leafy green darling. It was a huge step up in culinary status for a little-loved vegetable that was once largely relegated to a lowly role as garnish — in fact, one of the largest purchasers of kale used it for just that purpose, as a decoration.

Pizza Hut was one of the largest purchasers of kale

Yes, you read that right — prior to 2012, Pizza Hut was the top purchaser of kale in the United States (via NPR). It may seem odd that the fast food chain who came up with both the hot dog stuffed crust pizza and the triple decker pizza would be buying so much kale, until you consider what they were using the kale for, which wasn't to feed its customers. The leafy green may have been part of Pizza Hut's once ubiquitous salad bar, but only as a ruffly green decoration, and not to actually eat.

Even if some intrepid pre-2012 Pizza Hut customer plucked some kale from the garnish to add to their salad, it's doubtful that they would have done so more than once, unless they knew to massage the leaves first to make the otherwise tough leaves more tender and palatable (which just about everyone, of course, now knows). These days, most Pizza Huts don't even offer a salad bar anymore, according to Eat This, Not That! Nor does Pizza Hut offer kale as a topping for any of its pizzas. But then, no one goes to a Pizza Hut to eat kale.