Kale consumption has risen so rapidly in recent years that Australian farmers are struggling to meet the demand, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
The green leafy ‘superfood’ has seen such a boom in popularity that it could lead to a worldwide shortage as one of the world’s leading kale seed suppliers sees its stocks snatched up.
Tony Hubbard, the head of Bejo Seeds, the Australian subsidiary of Dutch company Bejo Zaden, told the ABC that the boom in demand for kale has led to the seed supplier running out of every variety of the vegetable.
“You could describe it as embarrassing to us, but it’s just one of those things that’s happened on a global basis,” Hubbard told the ABC. “It’s caught us out well and truly, we put our hands up to that.”
Australian growers Deborah and Darren Corrigan told the ABC they began planting 1,500 kale seedlings a few years ago and are now planting 150,000 each week, supplying leading supermarkets Coles and Woolworths across the country.
Having watched the rising popularity of kale, a member of the cabbage family, Coles Fresh Produce group merchandising manager Brad Gorman said kale has been the fastest growing product he’s seen.
“Kale’s been around for three years and for a product to be growing at this rate, after that amount of time, I think is almost unprecedented,” Gorman told the ABC.
The winter vegetable, resilient to frost, has risen in popularity in the US and Australia in recent years, driven by a trend in health-conscious consumers.