Under the Tuscan label, the product blends black and scarlet baby kales with wild arugula. Church Bros. is likely to bring it to retail later in the year, Van Eeghen said.
Cocktails with kale might be on the faddish side, but the drum beat of new recipes and cooking uses has been steady.
“Everybody’s been touting it and saying how good it is,” Odron said.
“But folks in the South have eaten kale, collards and mustard greens forever. Out West, a lot of consumers realized the nutritional value of it. They just weren’t crazy about putting some bacon in, boiling it and serving it like cooked spinach. Now ways are being found to tantalize the menus and make it attractive. The San Francisco Chronicle just had a kale casserole (recipe) with mushrooms, onions and cheese.”
Guadalupe, Calif.-based Apio Inc. introduced its Sweet Kale Vegetable Salad under the Eat Smart label last year.
“It continues to exceed our expectations,” said Cali Tanguay, director of marketing and technology.
“Our retailer partners were quick to recognize the value of this product and create space for it.”
Kale also draws consumers seeking alternatives to lettuce salads, Tanguay said.
Earthbound’s Power Greens, which includes kale, and its Zen Blend, which includes chards, also launched in 2012.