Who Is Kale's PR Agent and What Dictates a Food Trend?

Staff Writer
A look into why kale is so 'big' this year


Several years ago, kale started popping up everywhere as the "it" vegetable and star of a healthy eating regime. Before that, the closest most of us likely got to kale was when it was used as a bit of purple or white wintertime greenery in place of tulips and daffodils in planter boxes. How did this leafy green get to be so trendy? 

Every piece in the food promotion chain has had a role in kale's rise to fame, claimed the panelists for Social Media Week’s "Who is Kale’s PR Agent & What Dictates a Food Trend?" Food stylists try to seduce us with their evocative photography of verdant boughs draped over a stark white plate, while PR people look for ways to build and promote momentum around it, and  chefs strive to create a dish that delivers that "ah-ha" moment when customers take their first bite.

Once the bloggers and photographers get in on the act, the documentation of a trend spreads to picture sites like Foodspotting and  restaurant meals get rated on Yelp, thus spreading the buzz out to a wider community. Kale's curly leaves pop up in bunches at farmers markets and in CSA boxes, which starts to spike searches for recipes.  

The "remixers" then kick into action, riffing on menu items and looking for their own interpretations and suddenly kale chips are everywhere and kale dust is sprinkled on everything. As one panelist put it, a "sportification" of food seems to have developed, with all of these pieces working in tandem to make anything the next big trend — in this case, kale.

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