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Which Restaurant Chain was the Largest Purchaser of Kale in The United States?

Kale or leaf cabbage is a nutritional superstar packed with different micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. This leafy green became quite popular in the 1990s. Joshua McFadden started using kale in his salad, and the rest is history. But did you know, that there is one restaurant chain that is known to purchase the most amount of kale in the United States alone?

In 2015 it was revealed that Pizza Hut was the largest purchaser of kale in the United States during one of its radio puzzle game shows. Funny thing is, they only use this leafy green vegetable as garnish.

The Origins of Pizza Hut?

Dan and Frank Carney founded Pizza Hut, an American multinational restaurant chain, and international franchise, in Wichita, Kansas in 1958. They serve their signature pan pizza as well as pasta, breadsticks, and desserts.

The company announced a rebranding campaign that began on November 19, 2014, to boost sales, which had fallen in the previous two years. The menu has been updated to include new items such as crust flavors and 11 new specialty pizzas. Employees’ work uniforms were also updated. Richtopia, a UK-based company, ranked Pizza Hut 24th on its list of the 200 Most Influential Brands in the World in 2017.

On June 25 and 27, 2019, it was announced that Pizza Hut would be reintroducing its logo and the red roof design that had been in use from 1976 until 1999. On August 7, 2019, Pizza Hut announced plans to close approximately 500 of its 7,496 dine-in restaurants in the United States by the middle of 2021. Pizza Hut announced on August 18, 2020, that it will close 300 restaurants due to the bankruptcy of NPC International, one of its franchise providers.

As of 2020, the chain had 17,639 locations worldwide, making it the world’s largest pizza chain by several locations. Yum! Brands Incorporated, one of the world’s largest restaurant companies, owns it. (Source: Reference for Business)

What is Kale and Where Did It Come From?

Kale, also known as leaf cabbage, is a group of cabbage cultivars grown for their edible leaves, though some are also used as ornamentals. The leaves of kale plants are green or purple, and the central leaves do not form a head. Kales are thought to be more closely related to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms of Brassica oleracea.

Kale originated in the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor, where it was first cultivated for food around 2000 BCE. In the 4th century BC, curly-leaved cabbage varieties coexisted with flat-leaved varieties in Greece. These forms, known as Sabellian kale by the Romans, are thought to be the ancestors of modern kales. (Source: Britannica)

How many Pounds of Kale is Purchased by Pizza Hut and How Do they Use it?

The information was not fact-checked in NPR’s original report, and a Pizza Hut spokesperson was unable to confirm it outright. The spokesperson did, however, mention that in 2012, the chain purchased nearly 14,000 pounds of kale in the United States for their system.
According to the spokesperson, kale was used to make the company’s meals more appealing. Because the chain hadn’t yet started using refrigerators to keep its salad bars fresh, ice was the way to go, and kale was used to hide it. (Source: Today)

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